Highways England to provide more options on A358

A county council has welcomed Highway England’s decision to hold a second consultation on the proposed route of a new road after complaining it had previously offered only one option.

Highways England said it had decided to ‘gain further public opinion’ on its proposals for the A358 between the M5 at Taunton and West Hatch Lane, having listened to feedback.

In its response to that consultation, which ended in July, Somerset CC called for more information on the planned route and stated that it would ‘much prefer’ to have seen a consultation on all four short-listed options.

The council said it welcomed Highways England’s ‘change in stance’ to hold a supplementary consultation with more options put forward for the proposed route.

Cllr David Hall, cabinet member for resources and economic development, said: ‘The A358/A303/A30 improvement is a key strategic route for Somerset and is central to future economic growth. Its therefore vital Highways England gets this scheme right.’

Highways England said a new six-week public consultation will be held in the autumn.

Project manager David Stock said: ‘We have listened to all the feedback received from the initial consultation and we feel that more work is needed to find the best option for the section of the scheme between West Hatch and the M5.’

The A358 is a mix of single and dual carriageway, which Highways England said is now carrying more vehicles than it was designed for.

It plans to improve the route to a dual carriageway as well as improving connectivity and access for local communities and vulnerable road users.

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