Somerset county council has been accused of recklessly damaging businesses with an ill thought-out programme of road closures. Now Somerset Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger says he is considering raising the matter in Parliament unless the council changes its policies. Several road closures are in place in and around Taunton for roadworks but, says Mr Liddell-Grainger, are impacting on traffic flows in his Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency, lengthening journey times and causing huge inconvenience for travellers. And he has accused the council of dealing a severe blow to economic recovery in West Somerset by closing the A358 between Taunton and Minehead for delayed roadworks over two weeks in June.
Mr Liddell-Grainger said the council appeared to plough ahead with closures without considering their impact on the community – and without giving much thought as to how that impact could be reduced. “There are very few road improvements and repairs that can’t wait until the end of the holiday season when traffic flows are lower and therefore fewer people will be inconvenienced,” he said. “But the authority seems to take some perverse delight in making things as difficult as possible for road users rather than adopting measures such as week-end and night-time working which could greatly reduce the nuisance roadworks cause. Unless the council adopts genuine and meaningful consultations about closures and starts listening and acting on the views of local people I am going to consider raising the whole issue in Parliament because in my view it is acting wholly unreasonably.”