COMMUTERS from five different villages say they are sick of being forced to take a diversion of up to seven miles on account of roadworks.

People living in Wick, Shurton, Burton, Knighton and Stogursey have been forced to use back roads due to works on a stretch of road at the Stogursey Lane junction to Nether Stowey, which has been closed since February.

The works are part of a housing development by Halsall Construction on behalf of SHAL Housing.

Colin Stephenson of Burton said: “It’s closed all the time including rush hour. It looks like they haven’t been doing any work.

“The normal route is around 2.5 miles. The doctor’s surgery is in Nether Stowey and for the last few months everyone in the five or six communities affected has had to make a seven-mile detour to get there.

“The butcher tells me it is costing £40 a week extra in diesel because of the diversion.

“I really don’t know what the emergency services would do if there was a fire in one of these villages.

“My wife is a theatre nurse in Taunton and she has an extra 20 minutes each way on her journey to and from work, which, after a ten-hour shift, is the last thing you need.”

Hugh Davies, county councillor for Watchet and Stogursey, said: “People are worried about the cost of time and money to go to work. It could be an extra six miles for some people. But with a new development certain things have to be done.”

Angela Gascoigne, chief executive for SHAL Housing, said it was looking to re-open the road by this Thursday evening (June 26).

She added: “Everyone at SHAL and Halsall’s is really sorry to inconvenience people living in the area around this site.

“We are absolutely committed to keeping the length of time the road has to be closed to a minimum.

“Our commitment to, and respect for, the community has been recognised by the Considerate Constructor Scheme which scored Halsall’s as exceptional, which demonstrates the site is at the forefront of industry best practice.”

The company has been updating Stogursey Parish Council and liaising with local schools to resolve any complaints.

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “We do our best to minimise disruption on our roads but we also have to allow companies access to install, repair and upgrade infrastructure.”

A BT spokesman said it was given permission for a road closure between April 28 and May 28 in order to carry out extensive works providing superfast broadband to the local area.

He added: “The work included laying new underground ducting, the installation of fibre optic cabling and other equipment and the de-silting of existing underground ducting. It would not have been possible for us to carry out this work without a road closure.”