Asda agrees to fund pedestrian footbridge over the River Taw in Barnstaple
ASDA has made a commitment to pay £500,000 towards a pedestrian bridge over the River Taw.
That is if it gets planning permission to build a supermarket and up to 350 homes on the old Leaderflush Shapland site in Barnstaple.
The news comes as the plan was due to be discussed at Devon County Council's development management committee on Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the Journal went to print.
The committee recommended the plans for the site, known as Anchorwood Bank, for refusal in December because of Highways issues.
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But the developer has addressed those issues and council officers recommended the plan be approved at yesterday's meeting.
The plans have been altered to make the access from Asda to the A3125 widened and improve the traffic flow at Barnhenge roundabout.
In total Asda will now spend around £400,000 on road improvements around the site, should the plans go ahead.
And in a major move which is sure to have swayed officers' opinion Asda pledged £500,000 towards a pedestrian bridge over the River Taw.
The move, which is in addition to other section 106 agreements and major flood works, will significantly improve the link between the North and South banks of the river, council officers said in their report to the development management committee.
The prospect of a pedestrian bridge was first mooted in the draft Barnstaple Transport Strategy, which was revealed in the Journal in December last year.
That report said: "A pedestrian and cycle bridge would enable improved access to the town centre, provide an opportunity for town centre Park and Walk and provide an incentive for Tarka Trail users and Anchorwood Bank visitors to explore the centre."
Asda says it will let shoppers park free for extended periods, meaning they will be able to visit both the town centre and Asda.
Also due to be discussed at yesterday afternoon's meeting were plans for a Morrisons supermarket at Evans' Transport in Braunton Road. Those plans were also recommended for refusal by the committee in December because of highways issues. Despite attempts by Morrisons to address the concerns of the committee, council officers have not changed their recommendation to committee members.
Visit www.thisisnorthdevon. co.uk to see what the development management committee decided.