Bideford and District Chamber of Commerce say North Devon Link Road funding is ‘best chance we’ve had’.

We have ‘only got ourselves to blame’ if we don’t take the chance to improve the A361/A39 Link Road.

That is the message from Bideford and District Chamber of Commerce, who says £1.5million government funding to develop a business case for the road ‘could be our only shot’.

But chamber president Maria Bailey, along with vice president Maurice Pearce and member Nigel Evans, of Evans Transport, will be keeping a close eye on how the money is spent by Devon County Council.

Ms Bailey said: “We’re not always good at grabbing opportunities; we’re sometimes slow off the mark.

“I can understand some of the costs but we have got to see something for this £1.5million.

“This is the best chance we’ve had to make this work.”

Looking to dual more areas, addressing farm traffic on the road and reducing congestion were some of the top priorities for the Chamber.

Ms Bailey added: “We are a growing population; the amount of growth we have got to take over the next 10-15 years is huge.

“We want people of working age because we need the skills - but we need this to get people here.”

Mr Evans said the A39 between Bideford and Barnstaple was one of the main stretches which needed to be addressed.

“We need to encourage the people in the North Devon area to stay,” said Mr Evans.

“We need to be able to get from Tiverton to Barnstaple or Bideford a lot quicker.”

Devon County Council will be consulting with companies in North Devon and Torridge as it develops its business case for the road.