Public will also be consulted on options for new River Taw crossing

Plans for a new pedestrian and cycle way over the River Taw in Barnstaple are a step closer to fruition.

Devon County Council says a number of proposals have been discussed with North Devon Council, while the district council says an appraisal of ‘options’ is almost complete.

Neither council would be drawn on the details, but the Gazette understands that options include a new footbridge, as well as a scheme to widen the existing Longbridge.

The most expensive option – a new bridge – would come with £3million price tag although some money for the scheme would come from developer contributions, including the new development at Anchorwood Bank.

A number of options are being explored for a new pedestrian and cycle crossing over the River Taw in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy KeebleA number of options are being explored for a new pedestrian and cycle crossing over the River Taw in Barnstaple. Picture: Andy Keeble

Councillor Pat Barker, the district council’s lead member for regeneration told the Gazette: “We have been appraising all the options for additional cyclist and pedestrian crossing capacity for the River Taw.

“This process is nearly complete and once council members have seen the draft options appraisal, the views of town centre businesses, statutory consultees and the public will be sought to identify the preferred option.”

A new pedestrian and cycle bridge was discussed at the North Devon Highways Traffic Orders (HATOC) meeting on July 29.

Members had reservations about the cost of the scheme and discussed an alternative idea of creating a walkway by the Longbridge.

District and county Councillor Frank Biederman said concerns were raised about a bridge’s benefit to the town centre.

He said: “Personally, I would like the money spent on town centre car parks, which could potentially mean we could offer a free hours parking, if the district can get rid of that liability.

“We already have two bridges over the taw; if the footpath on the Longbridge could be widened, it would meet up with the new river bank walk and be a much more natural route from the Anchorwood Bank into the town centre, without spending a stupid amount of money on a scheme that might actually mean people bypass the town centre.”

What do you think? Would you like to see a new footbridge across the Taw or would you prefer to se the Longbridge widened? Take part in our poll or email your thoughts to newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk