NORTH Somerset Council will soon decide whether to enter into the next stage of a contract to deliver the long-awaited Banwell bypass with Alun Griffiths Ltd.

The village of Banwell on the northern slopes of the Mendip Hills has been calling for a bypass to be built around it for decades.

The A371 carries traffic from Weston-super-Mare right through the heart of the village, where the road narrows down to a small lane, causing frequent congestion.

Griffiths took on Stage One of the contract in 2021, which saw the delivery of consultation, preliminary design and planning submission.

Stage Two will include the detailed design and construction of the bypass, as well as mitigation measures in nearby villages that will be delivered before the bypass opens.

The scheme also includes miles of walking, horse-riding and cycle trails and will include new ponds, woodland and wetland areas. It is hoped that this will help protect local wildlife.

Mike Bell, leader of North Somerset Council, said: “We’ve worked hard to bring the Banwell bypass closer to becoming a reality this year, securing planning permission and additional funding.

"These achievements have given this flagship scheme a sense of momentum and we have now arrived at the final council decision before we can get spades in the ground. 

“It has been a long road to get to this point, but I am confident through our extensive public consultation, council scrutiny and due diligence from experts specialising in the environment, history, heritage and more, the scheme we’re set to deliver is one we can be proud of.

“Not only will Banwell bypass improve access and connectivity between communities – with options for greener travel – it will lay key infrastructure for future homes and facilities, both vital in meeting the needs of local people and unlocking the benefits of regional growth.”

Compulsory Purchase Orders are needed to acquire the land needed to build the bypass, the outcome of which is expected before the end of this year.

Stage Two of the contract would allow construction to start in early 2024.

The council's decision will be made in their Full Council meeting on Tuesday, November 14.

Both the council and Homes England have pledged funding to help make the bypass a reality and overcome inflationary pressures.