Question mark over Cheddar high street road closure
Part of Cheddar has been spared a painful three-week road closure of the high street – for the time being.
Station Road, Bath Street and Draycott Road are in need of resurfacing. But traders were not happy that the entire 500m length was being shut in one go.
But it appears Somerset County Council’s highways department has relented and postponed the closure at Church Street because of the ongoing dilemma at Cheddar Gorge.
But a spokesman for the council could not confirm if the closure was off for Station Road, Bath Street and Draycott Road at the time of going to press.
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Parsons Penn resident Peter Gawthorpe was rung by highways on Tuesday afternoon after he asked how he was going to get in and out of his home.
He said: “I was told with Cheddar Gorge closed they can’t resurface Church Street at the same time so it’s been put off.
“They said they want to avoid closing during the holidays and get the gorge fixed first, so the closure will probably be between Easter and Whitsun.”
Somerset County Council confirmed the Church Street closure was postponed but no new date has yet been set.
Ironically it was the closure of the B3135 – now in its 81st day – that saved the high street for another day.
Flood water from High Rock has eaten the road sides, making them unsafe. However, the closure does not take effect until near the caves so businesses are still open as usual.
The postponement also puts the filling in of potholes on Church Street on Monday into a different light. Residents were unbelieving that pot holes were being filled in a week before the road was due to be ripped up.
Traders were not happy when they learnt of the closure last week.
Mike Latham of Lanes of Cheddar and vice chairman of Cheddar Traders Association, said: “I think the closure is a step too far. I have contacted the council about what to do with truck movements and their response was speak to the foreman on the day.”
Fellow trader Nigel Deane of Deanes of Cheddar was likewise not impressed with the lengthy closure.
He said: “I appreciate the road has to be repaired but why not do it in sections? People will avoid Cheddar and the diversion is absolute madness.”
The county council is obliged to use A and B roads for its diversions but in this case motorists from the southern end of the closure by Froglands Lane bridge were advised to drive 40 miles to Wells, Glastonbury and then Bridgwater and approach the other end of the closure just past Lower North Road in Cheddar from the A38/A371 junction at Cross.
If the three-week closure is in place then it will be followed by an week-long evening closure.
The actual surfacing work is to be done in the nights between 6.30pm and 10.30pm over a week.