Somerset A358 doubling plans – give your opinion on the new designs
The people of Somerset have one more chance to have their say on plans to double the A358 between Taunton and Ilminster.
National Highways (formerly Highways England) held a public consultation at the end of 2021 on its plans to create a dual carriageway to link the M5 at Junction 25 to the A303 at Southfields roundabout. After receiving more than 900 official responses to this consultation, National Highways made significant changes to its design.
Further public comment on the proposals is now required before the end of June – after which a formal application for the duplication scheme will be submitted to the Town Planning Inspectorate.
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Modified proposals from the £328m Doubling Scheme, including:
- Improved access near Nexus 25 roundabout and Mattock’s Tree Green Junction (where the A358 joins the A378 towards Langport)
- New provision for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and disabled road users
- New areas for habitat creation, as well as improvements to existing hedgerows and changes in the management of nearby woodlots
- Moved the main construction complex to a new location
Katherine Liddington, Senior Project Manager for the A358 project, said: “We plan to upgrade approximately 8.5 miles of the A358 to a new, high quality, high performance dual carriageway which will reduce congestion, enhance safety and improve connectivity for road users and local communities, while unlocking economic growth in Somerset and beyond.
“Since our 2021 consultation, we have made some changes to our preliminary design, which will improve safety and access to local roads and reduce the impact on communities, the environment and the local landscape. As part of our planning, we would like to hear your thoughts on our design changes before submitting our planning application later this year.”
The dual carriageway is designed to reduce congestion for commuters and holidaymakers, allowing smoother traffic in Somerset and encouraging the creation of new jobs. To participate in the consultation, visit www.nationalhighways.co.uk/our-work/south-west/a358-taunton-to-southfieldsbetween May 24 and June 26 .
In addition to the online consultation, three walk-in events will be organized on the following dates:
- May 26, 11am-8pm: Monks Yard Conference Room, Horton Cross Farm, Horton Cross, nr. Ilminster
- June 8, 11am-8pm: Somerset County Cricket Club, The Cooper Associates County Ground, St. James Street, Taunton
- June 11, 11am-6pm : Taunton Racecourse, Orchard Portman, nr. Taunton
Those without internet access can request a free copy of the consultation papers by calling 0300 123 5000 or emailing [email protected] . Following the consultation, National Highways will submit a formal application for the duplication scheme – known as a Development Permission Order (DCO) – to the Planning Inspectorate before the end of the year.
A public inquiry will then take place, with Transport Secretary MP Grant Shapps expected to make a final decision by spring 2024 – around the time the ongoing A303 dual carriageway near Sparkford is expected to be completed. If approval is granted, the doubled A358 should be open to the public by 2028.