Bypass plan still alive

PUBLISHED: 12:01 22 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 May 2010

AN AMBITIOUS plan to ease the congested streets of Banwell with a bypass 's not dead in the water', according to the district s highways boss.

AN AMBITIOUS plan to ease the congested streets of Banwell with a bypass 'is not dead in the water', according to the district's highways boss.

But Councillor Elfan Ap Rees admits the long-awaited scheme is not likely to gain necessary funding for at least another 10 years.

The deputy leader of North Somerset Council broke the news this week after two thirds of village residents who answered a community questionnaire renewed their call for the bypass.

The parish council survey, which also showed nine in 10 people suffered traffic disturbance, is set to re-ignite the ongoing road debate.

In 2005 villagers led a campaign with the backing of 3,500 signatures demanding a bypass.

Cllr Ap Rees, the council's executive member responsible for highways, said: "We would like to create a bypass for Banwell and we do have an idea of a route.

"But the problem in the way is financial - it is simple, the proposal is not high enough on Government priorities for new routes.

"I have every sympathy with people in the village but unless we get immediate funding I can't see anything happening within 10 years because of the state of the economy."

However Cllr Ap Rees also warned residents that a bypass could come at a cost.

He said: "The problem for Banwell is if we were to want to build the bypass using developer funding it would mean more houses."

One suggested of the route would to take vehicles from Wolvershill Road to Sandford or Tower Hill, possibly connecting it to a future M5 junction 21 bypass.

But apart from land being reserved for the plan, no further work has taken place.

In Banwell, some residents remain pessimistic about the possibility of a bypass, despite requesting it in the parish plan.

Pensioner Roy Rice, of East Street, said: "It's not going to come about is it?

"I think everyone is affected by the traffic but people just put up with it now, you learn when to drive around the village and when to not.

"I won't be getting my hopes up for a bypass.

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