Plans for 15,000sq ft of commercial space and parking for 155 cars approved by North Devon Council planning committee .
Plans for a new business park and park and change facility have been given the go ahead by North Devon Council (NDC).
The application by Devon County Council (DCC) for 15,000sq ft of commercial space and a parking facility for 155 cars was unanimously approved by NDC’s planning committee at a meeting today (Wednesday).
The committee had heard the application at a meeting last month, but deferred their decision to gain more information on highway safety concerns and improvements to Roundswell roundabout.
Those concerns were echoed at the meeting by local resident Geoff Hall, who also had fears pedestrians and cyclists would bypass the new footbridge to cross the road.
He said: “I do think the site would be a good site for a high quality business campus, especially if safe and of the right size, but I don’t think it is right now.
“If people want to go to Sainsbury’s, I can’t see them walking the length of the park across the bridge and back again to get back to where they were. It’s just not going to happen.
“I live at the top of the hill and delays are 10-15 minutes. A few more cars and it could become gridlocked. I can’t understand how 600 cars wouldn’t make this much worse.”
DCC highways development officer Paul Young said the new development would bring ‘more balance’ to the roundabout, making it more effective.
“The more balance you get on different arms of the roundabout, the better it works.
“At the moment, you have significant movements from Bideford to Barnstaple and vice versa.
“But by introducing more movements on the Torrington road, it will create more balance.
“When you have this development take place you will have vehicles driving from Bideford and turning right towards Torrington, those travelling from Barnstaple towards Bideford and turning left, and straight across from Roundswell to the development.
“All these different movements create gaps for people on the Torrington road to be able to enter the roundabout.”
Mr Young said the Roundswell roundabout, which was upgraded in 2014, is working better than expected, and is safer too, with just seven accidents in three years.
He added that the development would also help reduce the speed of traffic going over the roundabout along the North Devon Link Road.
The plans were agreed on the condition that reasonable signage to encourage pedestrians and cyclists to use the A39 footbridge and an additional green travel plan is put in place.
It is hoped the new park and change facility will reduce commuter delays along the A361 into Barnstaple.
The new facility will occupy land on the Brynsworthy side of the footbridge, and access to the site will be via the new roundabout on the B3232.