Report by Alex Evans, Reporter
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
FUNDING for transport improvements totalling £40million has been secured by a group of South West councils, including North Somerset.
The Department For Transport (DfT) has handed the authorities £24million, including £3million for North Somerset, with the remainder coming from public and private sector funding partners.
The money has been earmarked for improvements to cycling and pedestrian facilities, new bus transport, and improvements to town centre roads.
These are in addition to £45,000 of improvements announced by North Somerset Council for changes around Weston Town Hall.
The authority will also be working with employers, schools and colleges to reduce the number of people travelling to work by car.
The idea is to get single-use car drivers to switch to walking, cycling or catching the bus or train.
Tim Kent, vice chairman of the joint transport executive committee, said: “Most people simply don’t think about how they get to work, they do the same today as they did yesterday and will do tomorrow. This is about waking people up to a new way to get to work, helping them think about options that might help them get fit, save some money and at the same time cut carbon emissions and tackle congestion.”
The scheme is a joint project run by North Somerset Council, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council.
The group successfully bid for the DfT funding in 2011 which, combined with other partners, brings the total money for the project to £40million.
The road improvements around Weston Town Hall are being put in place ahead of the building’s relaunch later this year.
The hall, in Walliscote Grove Road, will house the relocated Weston library.
Three new bus stops and shelters are being installed, two in Walliscote Grove Road and one in Oxford Street, and improvements will be made to existing shelters. A new zebra crossing is being installed outside the Town Hall to allow people to cross to the building safely.
New cycle racks will also be installed, with the total cost of the works set to be £45,000.