THE Department for Transport has granted North Somerset Council with permission to use Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to further advance the Banwell bypass scheme.

In 2023, a public inquiry was held into the use of CPOs. The council, as well as other interested parties, weighed up the pros and cons for the use of CPOs.

This was led by an independent inspector, who then presented the findings to the Secretary of State for Transport.

In cases where land needed to build the bypass can not be purchased by negotiation, CPOs will be used.

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.

Councillor Mike Bell, leader of North Somerset Council, said: “The Banwell bypass was first proposed all the way back in 1927, so this brilliant news marks a truly historic day for North Somerset.

"Now we have the green light use CPOs, we’re able to acquire the land, get on site and start building. 

“Not only will the Banwell bypass ease longstanding traffic issues in Banwell village, it will better connect communities by cutting journey times for those travelling between Weston-super-Mare and the A38.  

“I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us on our journey so far, including those who shared their views in consultation and shaped the bypass design, along with the design of miles of walking, cycling and horse-riding tracks.

"I’d also like to thank John Penrose MP for his continued support for this important project.

“In the coming weeks we will begin environmental works, readying the area for construction set to start in the spring. The bypass also includes new ponds, woodland and wetland and our contractor, Alun Griffiths, are innovating to cut construction’s carbon footprint.”

Steve Voller, from the Build Our Bypass community group, added: “This is fantastic news for Banwell residents and anyone who suffers from the increasing congestion and delays trying to get through the village.

"New footpaths, cycle ways and horse-riding tracks make this a scheme not just a road. We’re really excited by the news and are now looking forward to work getting started!”