Welcome to my latest newsletter. Please forward it to anyone else who you think would like to receive it, and they can sign up at my website (www.peterheatonjones.org.uk).
Tragically this week has seen another fatal accident on the A361/A39 – this time on the A39 section, west of Roundswell. A 49-year-old woman died following the crash on Monday, which closed the road between Barnstaple and Bideford for nine hours. Our first thoughts of course are with the victim’s family and friends.
Coincidentally, on Tuesday North Devon Council’s Executive discussed the County Council’s proposals for improvements to the road. They’re contained in a consultation document called ‘Gateway to Northern Devon’ which I’ve referred to here before. Whilst I welcome the idea of any improvements, I believe they don’t go far enough.
As you know, I think there should be a dual carriageway on the Link Road between Tiverton and Barnstaple. Beyond there we need to look closely at the A361 through Braunton to Ilfracombe, and the A39 to Bideford where Monday’s accident happened.
I’ve been sending thousands of surveys to local residents to seek your opinions, and many are coming back already. Thank you. I’ve also discussed it with the Leader of Devon County Council so that we can work together on this.
Today, I have a further announcement. I have held a meeting with the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin to push our case - as this week’s photo shows. I am delighted that the Minister has asked me for more information so he can review the position. More importantly, he has agreed to come here and see the problem for himself. I will be hosting the Minister’s visit in the next few weeks.
As I’ve always said, this is ambitious and there are no promises. But in the last few years we’ve not been ambitious enough in asking for what we need in North Devon, and I want to change that.
Further tragic accidents like this week’s make it all the more important.
Whilst we need road improvements, we must not forget public transport. I have written here before about my support for the Tarka Line and why we need improvements to our rail service between Barnstaple and Exeter.
This week the Tarka Rail Association held its Annual General Meeting. I’m grateful to the outgoing Chairman, John Burch, for giving me a full briefing on the latest news. Also this week I’ve had two meetings with Cllr Simon Harvey from Barnstaple Town Council, who is a committee member of the TRA.
When I met First Great Western earlier in the year, I urged them to look carefully at the possibility of more carriages, a more sensible timetable, and fairer fares. At the AGM, I’m delighted that FGW announced there is some progress on these matters. We should expect an announcement on the details soon. However I was concerned to hear that any long-term improvements are still some time off.
I look forward to continuing to work with the TRA and its new Chairman to try and get the rail service North Devon deserves.
Your Chance to Meet Peter!
So often people complain that politicians don’t listen, or say they live in the Westminster bubble. The second complaint is easy to answer – I live in Bishops Nympton! Now I’m doing something about the ‘not listening’ bit as well.
As you may have read in the North Devon Gazette, this week I’ve announced a series of informal meetings where you can come along and chat to me about anything. There’ll be light refreshments and I’ll say a few words, but more importantly I want to hear your concerns and opinions, either in the group or individually.
Each event lasts no more than 90 minutes and you can drop in and out if necessary. There’s no need to book and no charge (except for the business breakfast). You will be invited to make a donation but that's not obligatory. In the cause of local democracy, the establishments are very kindly donating their facilities and refreshments free of charge - thank you very much!
I want to see supporters, the disinterested, the concerned, the disaffected, the disappointed, the disillusioned, the excited, the passionate... the more the merrier! Do tell your friends, and I hope to see you.
Here are the dates so far, but there will be more to come on various days and times:
Monday 20 October The Dolphin Inn, Combe Martin, 10.30am
Wednesday 22 October The Commodore Hotel, Instow, 10.30am
*Thursday 23 October Trimstone Manor Hotel, West Down, 7.15am*
Thursday 23 October Trimstone Manor Hotel, West Down, 10.00am
Wednesday 29 October Barnstaple Hotel, Barnstaple, 10.30am
*Please note the 7.15am event is a business breakfast particularly aimed at people in the local business community. Cost £8.50, please ring to reserve: 01271 862841*
If you have ideas for a venue that could host such an event – maybe even a private house where you just want to invite a few friends and neighbours – then do please let me know. I look forward to meeting as many people as possible.
Keep in touch
I am active on social media, which is a good way to keep up with what I am doing so please:
Follow me on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/PeterNorthDevon
Like me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PeterNorthDevon
Until next week......
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate