Things are not quite so rosy

THE headlines we have seen regarding the £22million of transport funding to improve Weston are, at first glance, excellent news. But when you get into the detail, things

THE headlines we have seen regarding the £22million of transport funding to improve Weston are, at first glance, excellent news. But when you get into the detail, things are not quite so rosy.To get the money North Somerset has to tick a number of Government boxes and ensure the Highways Agency supports all the schemes.The first reason the funding bid is not so rosy is that changes to junction 21 do not include any enhancements to the route from Somerset Avenue onto the north bound M5.All the enhancements planned at junction 21 will make getting off the motorway from the north easier, including three lanes for the off slip road.So three lanes off the M5 from the north, but still only one to get on heading northbound.This is because the Highways Agency doesn't want Weston's commuters on its motorway and will not support any of the other schemes if the council tries to make it easier for you and I to get on the M5.The second reason is that the application includes a park and ride scheme, which would tick an important Government box.This is likely to be sited off the airport roundabout. This should be a positive move for Weston.However, it seems to make the park and ride scheme more appealing than finding a space in Weston. Parking in the centre of town must be monitored by what is called civil parking enforcement powers.North Somerset Council would essentially take over control of monitoring parking from the police.This would be fine, except when the current administration came to power last year, one of its first actions was to kick into touch the possibility of the council taking on the civil parking enforcement powers.So the £22million of transport enhancements don't fix the actual problem at junction 21, and as far as I can tell, cannot happen without the current administration doing a massive U-turn.EDWARD KEATING - Councillor for South Worle


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