Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Tuesday, 7 July 2009 15:45 UK

Public inquiry into 123m bypass

Traffic in Kingskerswell
Thousands of vehicles pass through the village every day

A public inquiry has begun to decide the fate of a Devon bypass which has been debated for about 50 years.

Supporters of the multi-million pound Kingskerswell scheme say it will ease congestion and boost Torbay's economy.

But opponents claim a bypass could destroy the village and millions of pounds would be wasted.

If approved, 90% of the £123m cost will be met by central government, with the rest of the money coming from Devon County Council and Torbay Council.

Improvements on the A380 between Penn Inn and Kerswell Gardens are aimed at reducing congestion, improving air quality and road safety, with the new road bypassing Kingskerswell to link Newton Abbot to Torquay and Paignton.

Compulsory purchase orders were published in September 2008 for 11 properties which might have to be demolished to build the road.

Site of proposed Kingskerswell bypass
Several landowners could lose some land if the road is approved

About 85 landowners have also been told they could lose some of their land.

Ian Handford, chairman of a group which supports a bypass, said the last traffic census showed 35,000 vehicles went through Kingskerswell every day.

But the Kingskerswell Alliance, which opposes the scheme, has said it wants a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly solution to the traffic problems.

The public inquiry, which began on Tuesday, is being held at the Passage House Hotel in Kingsteignton. It is expected to last for 12 days.

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