Housing plan for A370 ‘screams danger’
PUBLISHED: 11:42 22 September 2017
A roundabout could one day be built at one of North Somerset’s ‘most dangerous junctions’.
Smallway in Congresbury is one of the district’s biggest accident blackspots and will eventually need improvements, according to North Somerset Council’s deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees.
He was speaking at a planning committee meeting on September 13, where councillors raised major concerns over road safety, with 21 homes proposed off the A370.
Freemantle Development wants to build the homes opposite the Tesco Express store, with the single entrance and exit point being in line with the end of the A370 bus lane.
Council planners say the road would be widened to allow a two-metre central area for cars turning right into and out of the development to stop so they can safely join the A370.
However, members of the planning committee disagreed with the highways team’s assertion the scheme would not lead to more accidents.
Cllr Ann Harley said the road is a ‘nightmare’ already and adding 21 homes, with 30-40 cars, would make matters even worse.
Congresbury’s councillor Tom Leimdorfer said it was odd the council had refused housing there for 30 years and now is happy to have access off the A370.
He said the ‘chaotic’ Smallway junction regularly witnesses crashes and drivers often exceed the 30mph limit when driving towards Cleeve, increasing the potential danger.
Cllr Chris Blades went further saying: “This is probably the most dangerous junction in North Somerset.
“It’s so congested and it’s probably the biggest bottleneck outside Bristol.
“The access plan screams danger.”
Most speakers said that if an improved plan was presented they would support the application. The site was added to the council’s sites allocation plan earlier this month.
The council’s highways team confirmed the development would not stop future improvements to Smallway, such as a roundabout, from taking place, after Cllr Ap Rees’ comments.
Rebecca Morgan, speaking on behalf of Freemantle, said the developer hopes to begin building work within four months of planning permission being granted, should the council give the green light.