Appeal to close Nailsea underpass

A FRESH appeal to close an underpass branded a ‘graffiti-ridden public urinal’ has been made by concerned Nailsea residents.

Campaigners are renewing attempts to close the subway as they believe it could save North Somerset Council money to replace it with a crossing.

According to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the council spends �5,220 a year to maintain the underpass which runs under Stock Way North to the High Street, from Heath Road.

Simon Websper, who submitted the FOI request to North Somerset Council and has been leading the appeal to get the subway closed, said: “Based on these figures, since we started campaigning to have the underpass closed the council has spent almost �10,500 just keeping it open, yet they continue to bleat about not having any money to close it and install a crossing on the road instead, which would also serve as a traffic-calming measure.

“Funds have already been allocated to the underpass, to increase the height of one of the walls.

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Taking this saving into account, the council would get their money back in less than five years if they were to close it and install a crossing.”

He added: “Thereafter they would be making substantial savings of more than �4,700 per year, as the annual cost of maintaining a puffin crossing is only �485, according to the council.

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“We are fed up with living next to what has become a flooded, graffiti-ridden public urinal, frequented by drug addicts and noisy, drunken youths - even more so now we know what it costs us, the taxpayers.”

If the underpass was closed, the council would have to fork out �25,000-�35,000 to install a puffin crossing as well as paying to fill in and landscape the subway. A council spokesman added that even if the underpass is closed, it would still have to be checked on a regular basis to make sure the structure is safe.

A spokesman said: “It’s not as straight forward as just closing off the underpass - if we did that it would have to be filled in and that would be at a cost.

“Not everyone wants it closed and at the moment we are still working on finding the best solution.”

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