Everyone is still backing the bypass, and no-one is flaking off.

WHETHER you live in Banwell or have to drive through it, local people have been waiting decades for a bypass to ease the pain of endless jams through the middle of the village.

I’ve spent huge amounts of my time lobbying various ministers about it over the years, and plenty of different previous council leaders and officials have put their shoulders to the wheel during that time too.

So, when we finally got the money signed off, it was a pretty big and important moment for everyone.  

But now there are reports the project is in trouble. Inflation has pushed up the costs and, suddenly, the numbers don’t add up anymore.

Does this mean the Banwell Bypass project is finished? Have we fallen at the last hurdle?

With any luck, no. The good news is that everyone is still keen to deliver the project.

I’ve already written to the minister Michael Gove about it; the council just voted unanimously to do everything they can to close the funding gap; and I’m told Homes England (who are a key partner in the project) are trying to do their bit too.

Importantly, everyone agrees there should be no compromises on the project itself.

It must follow the existing plan to end the Banwell jams, without creating new traffic problems in next-door villages like Sandford, Winscombe or Churchill either.

So everyone is still backing the bypass, and no-one is flaking off.

A version of the Banwell Bypass has been proposed since the 1920s and this is the closest we’ve ever come.

Success is within our grasp, and it’s absolutely essential we don’t let it slip through our fingers.