A NEW road described as being ‘essential for the wellbeing of Newton Abbot’ has moved a step closer after Teignbridge Council pledged a million pounds towards it.

But members of the full council meeting on Tuesday 5 September stressed the importance of keeping facilities for cyclists and pedestrians ‘sacrosanct’ as they gave their support to the stretch of new road between Drumbridges and the Trago Mills roundabout.

They were warned that the current economic climate meant costs were rising all the time, and ways may have to be found to save money on the scheme.

But councillors were adamant that the needs of those on foot and on two wheels should be at the centre of any plans.

The money will come from developers, who pay into a Community Infrastructure Levy whenever they build new homes or businesses. The £1 million will go towards the latest stage of the high-priority new A382 between Newton Abbot and the A38 at Heathfield.

Devon County Council has secured £38.12 million from the government to upgrade the rest of the route between Drumbridges and Newton Abbot, and work is expected to start next year.

Teignbridge’s contribution amounts to just over three per cent of the total cost of the scheme.

Cllr Gary Taylor (Lib Dem, Kenton and Starcross) said the council was getting 'truly outstanding value for money' from its investment, and Cllr Phil Bullivant (Con, Bradley) said: 'The proposals are essential for the future wellbeing of Newton Abbot.

'This is something we should be getting behind 100 per cent.'

But Cllr Andrew MacGregor (SD Alliance Independent, Bishopsteignton) said he was concerned to hear questions around the cycling and pedestrian provision.

'I am not suggesting that we don’t give the money over,' he said. 'But provision for pedestrians and cyclists should be a sacrosanct element of this project.

'Otherwise the message we are sending out is that cyclists and pedestrians are not a big consideration. Unless we make this commitment we are letting our residents down.'

Cllr Liam Mullone (SD Alliance, College) added: 'This was sold on the premise that it will make things safer for cyclists.'