Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin was in North Devon today (Wednesday) to hear first-hand of the ‘desperate need’ for improvements to the Link Road.

The 57-year-old was invited to a bridge over the A361, just south of South Molton, by Conservative candidate Peter Heaton-Jones, who is lobbying for more of the road to be duelled during the next parliament.

Mr McLoughlin, who revealed cheese and onion to be his favourite flavour of crisps, said: “There have been some serious fatalities here in the last 12 months and one of the things we try to do is engineer out danger as much as possible.

“I don’t think improvements to the road would be just a matter of bringing people in, but a matter of relieving congestion. I can imagine what it’s like in the summer and you don’t need many incidents to bring the whole network to a complete standstill.”

When asked if a Conservative Government would make improvements to the road a top priority after the election, Mr McLoughlin said: “I know Peter would make sure it was high on the list and would fight for it.

“There are lots of pressures on the highways budget but we do have separate budgets such as the pinch point scheme which help.”

Plans are beginning to take shape to make some adjustments to the Link Road, with Devon County Council pledging £1million to undertake a feasibility study.