Wessex Water ups hours in bid to finish Taunton roadworks early

Traffic in Taunton town centre.

Traffic in Taunton town centre.

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

MONTHS of frustration could soon end for commuters, shoppers and businesses frustrated with Taunton’s horrendous traffic jams.

Wessex Water has told long-suffering traders it is working extra hours on its scheme to renew ageing water mains around the town and should finish ahead of schedule.

Gemma O’Neill, of the Sassetta Cafe in Paul Street, said it has been “increasingly quiet” with just nine customers one day.

She said: “If the next six weeks continue like the last two we simply won’t survive.”

She said trade picked up after an advert was placed in the County Gazette, but dropped off again during the roadworks.

Ms O’Neill said: “Even if we survived until after the works at the top of our road are finished we fear it’s going to take an awfully long time for people to gain confidence in parking in the multi-storey car park and M&S.”

An Australian tourist reserved some items with James Hembrow, of Craftasmic in High Street, before flying over, but failed to make it into town because of the traffic.

“She travelled thousands of miles with no hassle until she got to Taunton, when she had to change her plans,” said Mr Hembrow, who now expects to expand on-line.

In St James Street, Robert Lodge, of Showerings, has seen trade drop.

He said: “It’s discouraging people from coming into town – it took me 1¼ hours to drive from Parkfield Road to the tax office one day.”

Steve Hough, next door at The Shoe Doctor, said footfall in the street has decreased.

He said: “Trade is the quietest in five years – people don’t want to come into town.”

A Wessex Water spokesman said contractors are working later and at weekends to finish the current work in about a week’s time.

Project manager Phil Luxton said: “We recognise that our essential water supply work, as well as roadworks being carried out by other organisations, is causing inconvenience in Taunton and apologise to those affected.

“Throughout our scheme we’ve liaised with various businesses and we held a specific drop-in session before starting our work on the A38 for local traders who may be affected so they could raise any issues.

“We’d encourage local people to continue to support local traders whose businesses remain accessible.

“We continue to carry out work as quickly as possible and we’re hopeful that the renewing of mains to improve water quality will be completed sooner than planned.”

Comments (8)

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9:08pm Mon 30 Jun 14

heather147 says...

I have noticed how empty the multi storey car parks have been. Still spaces to be had on a Saturday lunchtime for instance, never heard of before! We shall wait with baited breath to see if the waterworks finish early. Don't bet on it.
I have noticed how empty the multi storey car parks have been. Still spaces to be had on a Saturday lunchtime for instance, never heard of before! We shall wait with baited breath to see if the waterworks finish early. Don't bet on it. heather147
  • Score: 1

9:50pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Bob L says...

We will all be glad to see the back of these works , on Friday it took me 40 minutes to get from priorswood road and along to jjunction 25 of the m5 . Really ridiculous and giving Taunton a bad name for being gridlocked
We will all be glad to see the back of these works , on Friday it took me 40 minutes to get from priorswood road and along to jjunction 25 of the m5 . Really ridiculous and giving Taunton a bad name for being gridlocked Bob L
  • Score: 8

10:25pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Somerset_BTGOG says...

Too little too late.


Now all we need to do is sort out Captain slow and his merry men working on the new road at staplegrove road and Priory bridge road.

They look so disorganised it's almost laughable.
Too little too late. Now all we need to do is sort out Captain slow and his merry men working on the new road at staplegrove road and Priory bridge road. They look so disorganised it's almost laughable. Somerset_BTGOG
  • Score: 14

10:56pm Mon 30 Jun 14

confusedconfucious says...

Somerset_BTGOG wrote:
Too little too late.


Now all we need to do is sort out Captain slow and his merry men working on the new road at staplegrove road and Priory bridge road.

They look so disorganised it's almost laughable.
you mean there is actually someone working there? New one on me, 2 or 3 times a week I come through there and return yet I haven't seen a soul around. Do they appear with the moonlight?
[quote][p][bold]Somerset_BTGOG[/bold] wrote: Too little too late. Now all we need to do is sort out Captain slow and his merry men working on the new road at staplegrove road and Priory bridge road. They look so disorganised it's almost laughable.[/p][/quote]you mean there is actually someone working there? New one on me, 2 or 3 times a week I come through there and return yet I haven't seen a soul around. Do they appear with the moonlight? confusedconfucious
  • Score: 12

11:16pm Mon 30 Jun 14

Swivel99 says...

What extra hours are the people from Wessex Water working and where? Also how come they have only just realised that they had had been working the extra hours right from the start then the businesses and people in Taunton wouldn't have suffered as much......suppose Wessex Water will get paid a handsome bonus for finishing earlier whereas many businesses will either go under or take years to get back to normal.
What extra hours are the people from Wessex Water working and where? Also how come they have only just realised that they had had been working the extra hours right from the start then the businesses and people in Taunton wouldn't have suffered as much......suppose Wessex Water will get paid a handsome bonus for finishing earlier whereas many businesses will either go under or take years to get back to normal. Swivel99
  • Score: 16

7:45am Tue 1 Jul 14

RightToAnOpinion says...

Expect the only reason they have been asked to hurry up is the Red Rodney's who dish out tickets for SCC have had less motorists to prey upon, oh and TDBC bleating to them about loss of parking revenue.
Expect the only reason they have been asked to hurry up is the Red Rodney's who dish out tickets for SCC have had less motorists to prey upon, oh and TDBC bleating to them about loss of parking revenue. RightToAnOpinion
  • Score: 9

11:21am Tue 1 Jul 14

T_12345 says...

I have wasted so much fuel just trying to get through Taunton, waiting in traffic jams not moving it is a **** joke. Then you see a group of 'hard workers' in a circle talking away puffing on fags, I don't think i have ever gone passed and seen them working. Maybe it's just me. My grandad moves faster than them.
I have wasted so much fuel just trying to get through Taunton, waiting in traffic jams not moving it is a **** joke. Then you see a group of 'hard workers' in a circle talking away puffing on fags, I don't think i have ever gone passed and seen them working. Maybe it's just me. My grandad moves faster than them. T_12345
  • Score: 12

9:00pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Taunton is a 3rd world economy says...

It is pathetic, Wessex Water apology's are not worth anything.
Compared to Bridgwater Taunton is a third world economy, wake up Taunton Deane.
It is pathetic, Wessex Water apology's are not worth anything. Compared to Bridgwater Taunton is a third world economy, wake up Taunton Deane. Taunton is a 3rd world economy
  • Score: 5

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