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New Mini-Roundabout at the Bottom of South Street

Monday 15 April 2013, 15:24
By John Smith

The sign that appeared before the road works started

Road works are being conducted on the B3081 at the junction of Southgate Road, South Street, Station Road, and Moor Lane, Wincanton.

Being the main road in and out of Wincanton this has the potential to cause upset in our local economy. Life for our business community is already very tough, but luckily there is no sign of road closures or diversions being put in place yet.

I checked the road works page on the Somerset County Council website to find answers to the follow questions.

When? The road works were due to commence on 2nd April lasting for three weeks. However the sign was altered manually to show a revised starting date of 8th April. At the time of writing (9th April) the road is still not closed, but works have now started. The contractors started by ripping out the island shown centre left on the image (entrance/exit of Moor Lane).

The road works viewed from the bottom of South Street, looking south(ish)

Why? This is a bit of a mystery. According to County's records, it would seem that this junction with its triangle, and island (Moor Lane side) are not up to scratch. It has therefore been decided that this junction is deserving of a new "mini-roundabout".

Having chatted with several local residents there doesn't seem to be any knowledge of any major traffic accidents/incidents at this junction that would require such drastic action. However County have advised that this roundabout is the result of a Section 106 agreement relating to the current Key Stage development on the New Barns estate.

Section 106 Agreements were instituted so that developers provide a financial contribution towards community facilities when building large residential developments. This helps to avoid massive developments without sensible facilities. At least, that's the plan.

The question here is what has a section 106 Agreement relating to the New Barns site got to do with a junction that is nowhere near the site itself? To this end I contacted County and Abbey Manor Developments asking for clarification. Keep an eye on this article for any updates.

The road works viewed from the end of Southgate Road, looking north(ish)

How much? The cost of work like this is always important to ensure best value for this sort of investment. Nobody wants to see money being wasted when it could be put to better use.

County advised that the cost of this work is "bonded" at £36,330. Maybe someone can tell us what that means.

If you can help shed more light on any of this please let us know.




Comments

johnbaxter
Posts: 1
Comment
Roundabout
Reply #1 on : Thu April 18, 2013, 09:26:23
Thank you John for a useful article. As someone directly affected by living nearby I am at a loss to see the point of what looks like wasteful and unnecessary expenditure on this island made by someone probably in Taunton with NO LOCAL INPUT. The island that was there before seemed to be working very well.
It would be nice to know if our County Councillor Anna Groscop could tell us of her involvement/responsibility over this and what have our district councillors been doing about it?I know roads are a County responsibility but 106 funding certainly is a District responsibility as Nick Colbert has made plain.

They could all find out what is going on and then tell us through the Window Think how far K36 could have gone with playground facilities which certainly would benefit the children of the town and the New Barns area. And what about the vandalised pavilion. Will that NEVER be repaired because of a few sick yobs?

Then there is the bridge. Could someone tell us and put it on the Window what is happening there. It may be necessary if collapse is possible, but to close the bridge over the A303 really is going to cause huge disruption. Just what are the plans and just who is responsible for carrying them out and when?
Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 09:45:00 by johnbaxter  
Victor Meldrew
Posts: 1
Comment
Re: New Mini-Roundabout at the Bottom of South Street
Reply #2 on : Sun April 21, 2013, 21:52:01
I am also at a loss to understand why this is happening. I was born in town, at the top of Flingers Lane, in Overton Terrace. In the late 50`s early 60`s there was an accident by the junction of Tout Hill and Balsam Fields between a car comming up and a milk churn collection lorry comming down. As this has been a one-way circuit since about 1950 you would wonder how this happened. When you approached from Aldermeads I counted at the time 13 different ways to say go left or right and there was an island even then. So just how will traffic be stopped from going up with only a `mini`roundabout. One can only question theintelligence of either Highways or County planners for this un-wanted, un-warranted and indeed seemingly unsafe development.
Nick Colbert
Posts: 2
Comment
Roundabout
Reply #3 on : Mon April 29, 2013, 14:02:54
I believe my predecessor, Tim Carrol insisted on it as part of a 106 agreement to service the waste recycling centre in Moor Lane they planned, he paid £220,000 of taxpayers money for a couple of acres worth about £12,000 then scrapped the scheme when it became too expensive. The land is still there and owned by the County but pretty worthless at present. A waste of public money. Not many people want the roundabout but they wrote the 106 agreement when there might have been a recycling centre in Moor Lane, the way they wrote the 106 means it can't be spent on anything else so they are going ahead with a roundabout no-one wants and there is no need for. A classic example of the public sector wasting our precious resources that could have gone to far better causes. It's trying to stop things like this that motivated me to become a councillor.
Last Edit: April 29, 2013, 14:06:43 by Nick Colbert  
Rich Bowles
Posts: 1
Comment
Well
Reply #4 on : Mon April 29, 2013, 18:16:33
For a start the Bridge is nothing to do with the local authority as all major A roads and motorways are the jurisdiction of the Highways Agency and not the local Highways Authority, and I can tell you the local authority are as frustrated as are the public as to when the HA will start the work.
The roundabout would have maybe, and I stress maybe, have been a good idea if the recycling plant was put into Moor Lane, but its not a political issue as is hinted as any local government no matter what party would have had to do a risk assessment to a project and the result would have been the same. And surely its the fault of all politicians if rules are so inflexible they cannot be changed even if the original plans have been scrapped.
Nick Colbert
Posts: 2
Comment
Roundabout
Reply #5 on : Tue April 30, 2013, 13:30:13
Rich Bowles is absolutely correct in his first paragraph regarding the bridge and worse is to come, Network Rail are shutting the main road through Castle Cary for 13 weeks whilst they do railway bridge repairs, they could have put a temporary bridge up but won't. All the traffic will end up going through Bruton and Castle Cary business will suffer a massive loss of trade. The only way to stop the public being treated in this overhanded way is for the public to be able to claim compensation for extra travel and loss of business, suddenly there would be a lot less road closures.

The roundabout is a classic example of how politicians and bureaucrats spend your money, the 106s should have been written with more flexibility to allow it to be spent on something else, if you were doing it with your own money you would not commit to the roundabout until there was certainty the recycling centre was going ahead, when it's not your money people are a lot more cavalier with it.

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