The clock is ticking. The Council’s new master-plan is out for consultation, and the final version will define how Weston, Worle and nearby villages will look and feel for everyone to live in, for decades to come.
The first version had some really good things in it, like investment in central Weston and FINALLY delivering the Banwell Bypass, but some serious flaws as well. It didn’t do nearly enough about the traffic jams on the M5 around J21, and suggested a ‘garden village’ (really a small town) between Congresbury and Churchill. So it was good news when Government inspectors threw it out , and sent the Council back to the drawing board. They gave us a chance to keep the good bits, but fix the problems too.
How does the new version look? A mixed bag, to be honest. The Banwell bypass and investment in central Weston are still there, which is great. And I am supporting the Council in a cross-party effort to persuade Ministers that we’re being asked to build too many houses, which is bang on target too.
But there are still serious flaws. It proposes bigger, better train and bus services, which is good, but doesn’t mention the M5 or J21 at all. We can’t cut jams and misery for commuters if we plan for either public transport or road improvements; we need both. And there isn’t enough about protecting the countryside. There’s not much point in declaring a climate emergency and laying on more buses if we concrete over wildlife habitats and build commuter villages where everyone has to drive miles to get to work.
The stakes couldn’t be higher, so I’ve launched a campaign to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. If enough of us speak up, they won’t be able to ignore what we say. Please sign up here: http://johnpenrose.org/wp/local-plan/