A Labour candidate for the forthcoming elections on May 4th believes that the Tory led Somerset County Council is failing to deliver the necessary Highway infrastructure for Bridgwater. The flow of traffic through Bridgwater is already severely impacted by the heavy traffic heading out to Hinkley Point, and as summer traffic is added to the mix, this will only get far worse. He also warns that the new, planned housing developments of 1200 homes on the Cokerhurst Farm site, on both sides of the A39 Quantock Road, will only add to the chaos.
Tony Heywood, Labour county candidate for Bridgwater West and Town Council candidate for Eastover said: “There is only one long term solution that will address this issue – a by-pass from Junction 23 at Dunball to Cannington. The fact that the government and EDF were not prepared to complete this as part of the Hinkley plan does not mean that it should be off the agenda. We must continue campaigning to ensure that this happens as soon as possible, for the benefit of the people and businesses of Bridgwater.”
No By-Pass and now County delay Colley Lane link road
Somerset County Council recently announced that a development already in the pipeline to take traffic coming from Junction 24 to the Colley Lane Industrial Estate, avoiding Taunton Road and Broadway, is being delayed yet again.
Tony Heywood said: “News has emerged that the Colley Lane bypass has a funding gap and will be delayed. Yet local people are not being told how much money is needed to complete the project, nor whether SCC is going to the local enterprise partnership to secure the necessary funding. Once again, Bridgwater people are the last in the queue for highway improvements, to help traffic flow and reduce congestion”.
Tories are failing Somerset
Tony adds: “Somerset County Council is completely failing in its duties. Many opportunities for economic growth are missed or delayed. SCC is a major consultee for planning, yet it often fails to comment on planned developments or just agrees to plans that will inevitably lead to parking and traffic flow problems in the future.”
“The formula used to predict the number of cars in a new development is based on the number of bedrooms, which does not allow for the actual number of cars per household. As a consequence, developers are able to pack in as many houses as they can, with roads that do not allow enough space for cars to park or move around the housing estates. Recent road improvements to the south of Bridgwater were used to try and take a bus service away from pupils travelling to The Blake School in Bridgwater”.
Labour will prioritize county wide transport strategy
Tony Heywood concluded: “If elected, I will prioritize the SCC Highway Infrastructure policy and make sure that a fair share of the funding is allocated to the Bridgwater area and also press for improvements in roads and highways to be delivered on time. I will campaign for a Bridgwater By-pass and a County-wide Transport Strategy to make sure that Bridgwater is suitably connected, to allow for travel and economic growth for all its residents and businesses”.
County councillor for Bridgwater North, Dave Loveridge added “SCC does not have a planning advice strategy on new builds, their parking spaces and access points on new builds are based on big city strategies and not medieval market towns like ours, every planning application that resembles each other they offer different advice to each plan or refer to standing advice, although they do not say what that standard advice is just give you links which tells about advice for big cities like Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.”
Labour Leader still holding EDF to account
County Labour leader cllr Leigh Redman (Bridgwater South) said “Here we are some 10 weeks into the EDF roadworks on Bristol road/ Wylds road junctions, and despite a small spurt of communication with traders early in the project, EDF have been a little quiet of late, why is it that there seems to be a distinct lack of work taking place on these junctions? yes we heard from them that ‘weekend working will be started’ and ‘we will increase team sizes to move the work forward’, but as we see traders get closer to bankruptcy due to no fault of theirs, EDF have still not increased work or moved forward, in fact it would appear that nothing has happened for weeks.”
“I am appalled that EDF are not out more regularly updating traders directly with solid information, I spoke with a trader over the weekend who expressed his concern about their trading future due to continued lack of footfall”.
‘Show Bridgwater Traders some respect!’
Cllr Redman concluded “I am still calling on EDF to put in place a compensation package for traders who can show an impact, despite their claim it would set an unacceptable precedent, they must do something as it would appear currently they are assuming a meeting between their contractor and Councillors is enough, come on EDF, get your head out of the sand and show Bridgwater traders and community some respect, put in place a compensation package and a solid communication process”
“We need to know what is going on as there appears to be a long pause in work, before it is too late”.