North Somerset left with the ‘crumbs’ in plans to improve infrastructure

PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 September 2017

Could North Somerset miss out on improvements to infrastructure?

Could North Somerset miss out on improvements to infrastructure?


North Somerset Council has ‘made life harder and shut itself out of key decisions on infrastructure’ as other districts in the South West look to tackle their road and rail issues.

‘Instead of compromising’ and joining the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), the council ‘has to take crumbs from the table’ while the other authorities involved progress with plans to improve infrastructure, according to Cllr Mike Bell.

WECA – made up of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils – has revealed a list of projects, including park-and-ride schemes, and road and rail improvements – with similar works, like the reopening of Portishead rail line, long called for in North Somerset.

North Somerset rejected the chance to work with the other authorities under a metro mayor last year – snubbing a share of £1billion of Government funding in the process.

WECA believes its ‘ambitious’ proposals will ‘help deliver economic growth’ through major infrastructure improvements – and Cllr Bell believes the council was ‘wrong’ not to sign up.

The LibDem group leader said: “Nobody on any council seemed to want a metro mayor, but it was take it or leave it. Instead of compromising, North Somerset shut itself out of key decisions and on £1billion in Government cash.

“North Somerset is left having to take crumbs from the table instead of being sat at the head. Officials are doing their best, but we’ve made life harder for ourselves, ignoring advice from industry and education leaders en route.”

Labour leader Richard Tucker also believes the district would be better off in WECA, adding: “Many of the wider issues concerning infrastructure planning can only really be tackled at that level.”

But council deputy leader, Elfan Ap Rees, says Cllr Bell is ‘out of the loop’. He said the council is working with WECA on housing, jobs and transport plans, like Portishead’s MetroWest rail scheme.

He added: “While WECA is having some difficulty getting up to speed with the wider West of England agenda, we have seen no evidence other joint initiatives shouldn’t continue.

“Meanwhile, we have the advantage of developing our own North Somerset agenda and funding with Government and other neighbouring authorities.”

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 18:00

A scout leader from Nailsea is taking part in his first triathlon – and he has picked the toughest challenge as his debut.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00

Talented footballers from a Nailsea school are celebrating victory after coming top in a sports tournament.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:00

The Gordano Breakfast Rotary Club has raised more than £2,000 during its first open air music festival.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

The historical fabric of Barrow Gurney is set to be secured after plans to create a conservation area were recommended for approval.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00

A Wraxall zoo has picked up a hat-trick of British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) awards.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:00

A group dedicated to sustainability visited a sewage treatment plant.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00

Cleeve Cricket Club hosted its annual beer festival on Friday and Saturday, with healthy crowds enjoying the sport, entertainment and beverages across the weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:00

A Quaker group is looking back at its remarkable history to mark 150 years since its home opened.

Read more
Fri, 18:00

A pair of Portishead teenagers are shaving off their hair in the name of charity.

Read more
Fri, 17:59

There are major disruptions to commuters tonight (Friday) as a road has been closed due to an accident.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Read the North Somerset Times e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 14°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
Reader Travel

Clevedon Tide report

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

North Somerset Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Somerset's trusted business finder

Find planning applications