New Road in Ilminster will not re-open until Christmas

New Road in Ilminster will not re-open until Christmas

New Road in Ilminster will not re-open until Christmas

First published in News This is The West Country: Photograph of the Author by

A MAJOR route to the north of Ilminster is likely to remain closed until at least Christmas, it has emerged this week.

New Road, known as Cemetery Hill, was closed in mid-February amid fears it could fall down a slope when large cracks appeared in a 70- metre section.

Somerset County Council initially said it was hard to say when the road would re-open but the News’ now believes it could be around Christmas before barriers come down.

Ilton Parish Council chairman David Amor said that after several weeks of calling for answers he received a note from one of the council’s highways bosses, Mike Fear.

It said: “Cracks in the road have now been sealed to stop ingress of water and a full CCTV survey of the drainage system completed.

“Contractors will shortly undertake stage one investigation and option study. Design and construction will follow stage one. It is likely that the road will remain closed for up to nine months.”

Cllr Amor said he felt Somerset County Council was not doing anything.

He added: “It is a nightmare for people and it makes you wonder whether it is worth going to Ilminster anymore when it’s as easy to get to Taunton.”

About 250 people signed a petition launched by the News that called on the council to fix the road as soon as possible.

Retired teacher Ann Leontovitsch, who lives with her husband next to the cracked section of road, said the saga had been a farce. She said: “I am not surprised it will take so long – we try endlessly to get hold of the council and email them but we can’t get any sensible information from them.

“They [the council] should have acted quickly when we first reported the problem and they should be keeping people much more informed. They are presuming it does not matter.”

Other residents on the Beacon who can still access Ilminster say the road closure has made the route much quieter, which they were happy about.

But MP David Laws said: “I am frustrated that it seems to be taking Somerset County Council so long to deal with the problems on this major road.

“I have written to the county council twice about the matter, pressing for both short-term and medium-term actions to help local residents and get the road back to normal.

“I will be talking to the county council this week to press for an action plan and better communications with local residents.”

Ilminster’s county council representative, Linda Vijeh, said it was not a simple job but would expect people to have a clear timescale for any works to be carried out, along with regular updates.

Town councillor Philip Burton added: “We want to be sure that Highways are making the right decisions for the people who live on New Road and their homes.”

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “The investigation remains on-going. We are working hard to re-open this road as soon as it is safe to do so but unfortunately due to the severity of the problem it could remain closed for some time.”

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:31pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Jimsainsbury says...

Not sure I believe all the statements about invetigations. Does anyone see engineers up there doing anything other than strolling around with yellow jackets on? As the problem is more than likely caused by the increasingly heavy lorries why not put a weight limit on the road and restrict light traffic to one side of the road with traffic lights. Is this too simple a solution?
I am also bemused as to where the road is likely to slip as below the hedge there is only a gentle slope towards Winterhay, hardly a ravine that is going to swallow up the whole of the Beacon.
We pay these civil servants huge salaries and now they are demonstrating just how important and powerful they are.
Not sure I believe all the statements about invetigations. Does anyone see engineers up there doing anything other than strolling around with yellow jackets on? As the problem is more than likely caused by the increasingly heavy lorries why not put a weight limit on the road and restrict light traffic to one side of the road with traffic lights. Is this too simple a solution? I am also bemused as to where the road is likely to slip as below the hedge there is only a gentle slope towards Winterhay, hardly a ravine that is going to swallow up the whole of the Beacon. We pay these civil servants huge salaries and now they are demonstrating just how important and powerful they are. Jimsainsbury
  • Score: 11

9:09am Thu 19 Jun 14

regularreader says...

At least it's supposed to be fixed by Christmas, but I notice they don't mention which one!
At least it's supposed to be fixed by Christmas, but I notice they don't mention which one! regularreader
  • Score: 10

11:00am Thu 19 Jun 14

highwayhell says...

The problem is Somerset County Council spend all the money in Taunton and areas like South Somerset are ignored. What we need is a County Councillor to stand up and demand some positive action and ensure people are kept informed. Everyone knew it could not be fixed quickly, but over 4 months down the line and nothing yet planned is a disgrace.
The problem is Somerset County Council spend all the money in Taunton and areas like South Somerset are ignored. What we need is a County Councillor to stand up and demand some positive action and ensure people are kept informed. Everyone knew it could not be fixed quickly, but over 4 months down the line and nothing yet planned is a disgrace. highwayhell
  • Score: 8

1:42pm Mon 23 Jun 14

Watchkeeper 10 says...

Clearly the council are taking this extremely seriously as whenever I have spoken to them they claim they are "watching it". Not sure what the expectation is maybe it will break into a song and dance routine or crack a few jokes. Money should not be an issue, there is funding available from central government and Mike Fear has been made aware of this by David Laws. They may be able to repair a whole section of railway line, including a new station in Devon and repair a large hole in North Somerset, but in South Somerset they seem incapable of getting anything done. I think that if anyone has been financially disadvantaged by the length of time this is taking to fix then they should be able to apply for a rebate in council tax.
Clearly the council are taking this extremely seriously as whenever I have spoken to them they claim they are "watching it". Not sure what the expectation is maybe it will break into a song and dance routine or crack a few jokes. Money should not be an issue, there is funding available from central government and Mike Fear has been made aware of this by David Laws. They may be able to repair a whole section of railway line, including a new station in Devon and repair a large hole in North Somerset, but in South Somerset they seem incapable of getting anything done. I think that if anyone has been financially disadvantaged by the length of time this is taking to fix then they should be able to apply for a rebate in council tax. Watchkeeper 10
  • Score: 5

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree