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Traffic fears over Henlade 'employment site' plans
A ROAD over the M5 is being mooted to access a proposed ‘employment site’ next to Junction 25.
Locals are worried about traffic gridlock if the estate goes ahead on farmland behind Henlade park and ride.
And planning officers say developers would need to resolve “infrastructure issues” before the 60-acre site was built.
Hundreds of people viewed the proposals and talked to Taunton Deane Council officials at an exhibition in Ruishton Village Hall.
A leaflet said the development would “complement the opportunities for office development at Firepool and other town centre sites”.
It added: “Such an allocation would assist in providing a range and choice of future supply to enable Taunton to reach its full economic potential.
“Around 25 hectares (60 acres) of land is available for development and of a suitable size to attract inward investment.
“It is also well located in relation to Taunton and the trunk route network.
“However, prior to inclusion in the plan, the council will require that the highway implications arising from such a proposal can be accommodated.”
Ruishton Parish Council chairman Doug Lowe dismissed suggestions in the core strategy that the site could be accessed by a flyover road across the M5.
“Henlade needs a bypass before this can even be considered,” said Mr Lowe.
“The A358 has 36,000 daily users going through Henlade and spending up to an hour some mornings going into the county town.
“I wonder what visitors would think with 60 acres of massive warehouses on the road which is the gateway to Taunton.”
Vice-chair Mike Marshall said: “Deliverability of this site is dependent on its ability to be accessed without adding to the existing traffic problems of the A358 and the motorway roundabout.
“It’s important that the site’s route be made known and subject to consultation at the same time.
“This site appears to be merely a Taunton Deane Council wish rather than a fully justifiable site.”
Exhibition visitor Sally McEwen said: “It’s definitely in the wrong place. The road system can’t cope already – it’s choc a bloc at certain times of the day and would be worse with the extra traffic.”
Fellow visitor Julia Cann said: “I’m concerned about increased traffic on a road that is already troublesome if this goes ahead.
“Thousands of people use it at peak times and it can take 20 minutes to get through the roundabout.”
Deane planning and development manager Tim Burton said the event was part of the consultation.
He added: “We haven’t got a full, detailed proposal. We’re talking about all forms of employment, but not primarily offices.
“We’ve consulted with local businesses and this is the clear site they want, close to Junction 25.
“There has been talk of providing access over the M5 and infrastructure issues will need to be resolved.”
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