Lost opportunities?

SIR - It saddens me how many opportunities are missed due to lack of foresight. The motivation for extending the North Devon line to Bideford with the cycle track beside is a wonderful opportunity that should not be passed. With the development of Northa

SIR - It saddens me how many opportunities are missed due to lack of foresight. The motivation for extending the North Devon line to Bideford with the cycle track beside is a wonderful opportunity that should not be passed.

With the development of Northam and potential housing onthe East of the Water side of the river it makes sense to both change Westleigh Junction to a full sized roundabout and build the line with the cycle track beside.

The potential park and ride facility make common sense in terms of safety, transport efficiency and environment, especially as Bideford is a growing town. Foresight is required to recognise its needs. This should have been recognised when building the Sticklepath road side of Barn-Henge square-about and putting a bridge under.

Unfortunately I know the coffers are bare from bitter experience of losing my job as senior renewals engineer at Amey working for Network Rail.


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With 40 per cent of budget for renewing worn out track in the Great Western Region in the next three years and now maintenance facing a 10 per cent cut, the existing rail network is going to struggle. We are on the poor end of the stick; major mainlines will take priority over our local branches. However good an opportunity, it is the Government that holds the purse strings (or debt pile). Until this is sorted (and it will be a thankless task who ever wins the next general election) this opportunity will not become a reality.

I am often amused by the rivalry between Braunton and Ilfracombe, but I feel that Braunton is the poorer neighbour. We severely lack a public garden. Ilfracombe has Bicclescombe and Runnymead; Minehead has Blenheim. These are wonderful relaxation and social spaces. The opportunity is there next to Tesco, The ground currently being choked by Japanese Knot weed could be turned in to such a garden. A pond could be formed keeping it low to allow flood plain alleviation, island and bulrushes to soften the rather utilitarian walkway connecting the cycle path to Tesco a wildlife area and walk by the river. Braunton, grab the opportunity now before more housing is crammed in.

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Alistair Hall, Braunton.

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