1. ITV Report

Local businessman builds temporary bypass across field

A Bath businessman who's fed up with lengthy detours due to a road closure has come up with a novel solution - building a mini-bypass.

Mike Watts plans to charge motorists £2 a time to use the 365-metre diversion round a blockage on the A361, an important commuter route between Bath and Bristol.

A section of the road near Kelston has been closed since Feburary, when it started to collapse after heavy rain. Repairs have only just begun and will take till Christmas.

Kelston road damaged by heavy rainfall

With the agreement of a local farmer, Mr Watts - who's mortgaged his home to help pay for it - has built a toll road which opens on Monday. It's cost £150,000 to build and will cost a similar amount to operate for the next five months - meaning he needs to attract a thousand cars a day to break even.

Aerial view of bypass built by local businessman

The only snag is that the road doesn't have planning permission from the local council - Mr Watts says he'll apply retrospectively. Bath and North East Somerset Council say they haven't yet seen a geological survey, so can't officially declare the road safe -- though nor are they trying to block it. We could have an odd situation when permission is refused just as the road is dismantled anyway.

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