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Council conundrum

Somerset Council has published their much delayed options appraisal for sustasinable travel between Wellington and Taunton. It looked at an enormous amout of information about the two towns, our populations and the current forms of travel between them. Needless to say, they noted the majority used the heavily congested A38

They then looked at a number of routes for active travel and, after much deliberation, settled

on..... yes, you guessed it.... four routes along the A38; two on the north side and two on the south. They decided these would be favoured by people with less ability because there is no lighting on the Greenway - or on the A38 apart from a small section from the Chelston roundabout to the Blackdown Garden Centre. There were quite a few anomalous findings, but the crunch comes with cost. To build a route beside a road is at least four times as expensive as building one across open countryside!

So here is the conundrum. Somerset Council has no money to build anything so no action will

come of the report until such time as their finances are returned to health. But, because the Greenway is a community-driven project built by us, they fully support us in our endeavours. They also support building an A38 route in sections but cannot see themselves doing that now or at anytime in the forseeable future. We ran a small poll on this website a few weks ago asking you which route your preferred, and you responded with a thumping 85% in favour of a Greenway. As a result of consultation earlier this week, the Council will form a position statemnt stating the above which will go to the Council Executive in January forconsideration of adoption into policy.

This is important for us because we now know we have the full support of the council and any number of County Councillors. The Greenway appeals to so many both as a commuter route and a leisure facility. It is accessible to all ages and abilities and cannot fail to bring added prosperity to the area. So, bouyed by this result, we enter the new year with plans to start concentrating on phase one from Wellington to Nynehead.

This is the point where we need to start bolstering our very small team. We need people experienced in land negotiations, planners, builders and fundraisers. We have many partnerships already, but if you think you have something to offer, please get in touch.

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