Barnstaple's Roundswell roundabout improvement scheme gets the green light

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By tinap | Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 10:33

Devon County Council's Cabinet has backed a £1.2 million scheme to ease congestion at the A39 Roundswell roundabout in Barnstaple.

The proposed improvements aim to increase the capacity of the roundabout by expanding its width and adding extra lanes on the east and west A39 approaches and exits. This will accommodate two lanes of straight ahead traffic to enter and exit the A39. It will also encourage traffic to use the A39 and A361 Western bypass rather than the route via Cedars roundabout and Sticklepath Hill for travelling across town.

Three applications have also been submitted to North Devon Council which could potentially impact further on the roundabout. These are the relocation of St Johns Nursery, 350 homes and a Primary School at Tews Lane and 850 homes and a Primary School at Larkbear.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said the scheme would improve the confidence of the local business community.

He said: "The Roundswell Junction on the A39 is one of the most important in north Devon. This is an important and good value scheme that does two things – firstly it would reduce the current congestion and delays, particularly in peak periods, on the key route between Bideford, Great Torrington and Barnstaple and the North Devon Link Road. It would also improve access in and out of Roundswell Business Park which is of strategic importance to the area. Not only would it relieve the A39 itself, it would also reduce pressure on alternative parallel routes currently causing delays to critical bus routes.

"Secondly it paves the way for proposed future housing and employment growth through the emerging North Devon and Torridge Local Plan over the next fifteen to twenty years alongside other infrastructure, public transport and cycling improvements. It will facilitate access between growing Bideford and Barnstaple employment areas as well as the proposed growth of Roundswell Business Park and the housing growth areas around the edge of Barnstaple."

Due to the possibility of the development near the roundabout, the scheme will also be designed to accommodate the future provision of a Toucan crossing for pedestrians and cyclists if required. However, a pedestrian and cycle bridge could be an alternative if it is economically and environmentally viable.

Approval from councillors is subject to available funding, and councillors also agreed to the County Council to enter into negotiations to obtain the required land for the expansion of the roundabout.

Councillor Richard Edgell, Devon County Councillor for Chulmleigh and Swimbridge division, said: "This roundabout is the most significant access hub onto the A39 at Barnstaple and this scheme will crystallize Roundswell as the premier location for business in the area. In addition to the proposal for major expansion of the Roundswell Business Park, a number of major housing developments are also proposed in the area which could amount to an extra 1,500 homes, so these improvements at Roundswell Roundabout are vital to cope with the anticipated growth traffic here."

Councillor Rodney Cann, Devon County Councillor for Fremington Rural, said: "I welcome and fully support this scheme. Roundswell is very much a success story and it will be an economic driver for north Devon, but timing is everything. There are already applications for residential and economic developments but if we wait until they take place it will be disastrous." 

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