Torbay Development Agency chairman, John Richards, is urging businesses to lobby the Department for Transport to fund the South Devon Link Road before the end of January, to help secure funding for the South Devon Link Road against stiff competition from other parts of the country
John told the Devon Week: “If you live here you know Torbay is a great place to live, work and visit, but we all can see that it doesn’t enjoy the best of links with the major transport infrastructure. The South Devon Link Road is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to help put Torbay on the map as a leading European business destination with a unique offer of quality of life, combined with an excellent commercial proposition.
“These links are hugely important to all parts of our economy. Retailers, manufacturers and distribution companies are affected by delays in getting goods to and from Torbay. Tourism suffers when visitors get a negative experience when visiting the Bay or when trying to explore the wealth of attractions on offer in the area; and we all have our own experiences of commuting on the current roads; and the frustration of being delayed as a result of the inevitable bottlenecks and congestion.
“Torbay has a lot to offer as an excellent business location. There are thriving companies which successfully balance the limited transport infrastructure with the overriding benefits of investing in Torbay – which include excellent skills, competitive costs and an unrivalled quality of life – helping to attract and retain a committed workforce. However, if we are to convince other companies to come and be part of a ‘Brighter Bay’, an improved transport link is critical.
“In making the case we should not forget that Torbay is one of the weaker economies in the South West region. Wages are low and there are unacceptable levels of deprivation and poverty in parts of the area. The A380 carries a volume of traffic that is on the same scale as roads around the edge of London and there is a clear link between the challenges of doing business in the area and the level of economic activity we see today in Torbay.
“For this reason, the TDA, as Torbay’s economic development company – charged with the challenge of delivering economic prosperity to the Bay – is fully supporting Devon County and Torbay Council’s campaign to promote the SDLR and obtain central government backing and funding.
“But we cannot work alone; winning Department for Transport backing will require both a compelling argument from the public sector and full support from the business community of Torbay and South Devon to explain the damage to their businesses if the link road isn’t built, and the potential benefits to their businesses if it is built.
“So, we need your help with the lobbying campaign to ensure Ministers, government officials and anyone in a position to help influence a positive decision are fully aware of the strong support for the SDLR right across our community and why it is a top priority for the business people and economy of Torbay and South Devon as a whole.”
Torbay Development Agency has published guidelines for businesses on what information would be useful to include in a lobbying letter to central government, this is available at the Torbay Development Agency website.
(From a press release)