Plans for Banwell bypass revealed - with three potential routes

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Plans for a bypass north of Banwell have been revealed by North Somerset Council after decades of campaigning.

The council has launched a public consultation on its proposals for a Banwell bypass, which would pave the way for new homes to be built in the district.

It is hoped work will start in 2023 and be completed the following year - but the authority still has to decide on one of three potential routes and secure planning permission.

It will also need to aquire the land it will be built on as some of the proposed routes go through football pitches and a caravan site.

There have been issues with congestion in Banwell dating right back to the 1930s, with issues on the main through it worsening over the years as traffic levels have increased.

The A371 and A368 are both very narrow when they pass through Banwell, causing queues and issues when large lorries pass through.

Previously the project has often stalled due to its cost, but now North Somerset Council has secured £97.1million in funding from the Homes England’s Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Where do the three proposed routes go?

The council is considering three options for a northern bypass. It would include a southern link between the A368 to A371 Castle Hill.

All three options go between the A371 and Wolvershill Road for 1.2km, running through Stonebridge Farm Caravan Park.

The three options for the Banwell bypass. Credit: North Somerset Council

Option one: From Wolvershill Road it takes a wide arc of Banwell and Riverside, crossing Moor Road, Banwell River and Riverside. It is north of the solar farm before curving back towards the A368. It would run for 4.1km and passes through a flood zone.

Option two (the council's favoured route): From Wolvershill Road it goes north of homes in Riverside before crossing Moor Road. It will then pass through an orchard and Banwell FC's football pitches. It runs for 3.3km in total, going west of the solar farm before joining the A368.

Option three: From Wolvershill Road it passes through the north corner of a new housing development before crossing the River Banwell and Riverside Road. It goes east before joining to a proposed roundabout which will connect with the A368. It would run for 3.4km in total.

The council says the bypass will reduce congestion through Banwell, make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians, reduce noise and improve air quality.

Cllr Steve Bridger, Executive Member for Assets and Capital Delivery said: “A Banwell bypass has been talked about for decades and we are working hard to make that a reality. Working with local communities, this vital next step will help us understand how we can progress a design that best serves residents and the local economy.

“While in the first instance the bypass will provide a new route for motorised traffic to avoid the pinch points within Banwell village, I am optimistic we can deliver an exemplar scheme, including green enhancements, biodiversity net gain locally and connections with the wider active travel network, which are all central to the project’s objectives.

“In offering motorists an alternative route, we want to provide residents with more choice as to how they get around on quieter local roads, whether by car, on foot or in the saddle. This choice is crucial in helping us all do our bit to meet our ambitious green target of carbon neutrality by 2030.”

The consultation will run until Monday 16 August and can be accessed online.

There will also be drop-in sessions subject to local Covid rates on:

  • Thursday 15 July, 12.30pm to 7.30pm at Banwell Village Hall

  • Thursday 22 July, 12.30pm to 7.30pm at War Memorial Hall in Churchill