No cash for crossing

PUBLISHED: 15:36 19 October 2010

Archant

VILLAGERS in Backwell are devastated that a crossing which they have campaigned for over 10 years to get has been postponed by North Somerset Council.

The scheme for a crossing on the busy A370 had been approved and drawn up and contractors were due to start work days before an email was sent to councillors calling off the work due to financial concerns.

The crossing was planned for West Town Road, near the recreation ground and tennis courts, to safeguard the hundreds of children who cross the road every day to get to the village facilities and four schools.

Backwell Parish Council had pledged £20,000 towards the crossing, as they felt it was desperately needed to make the village safer, and North Somerset Council had allocated £39,000 towards it.

Speaking at Backwell Parish Council meeting on Thursday, district councillor Karen Barclay, who has been leading the campaign for the crossing, said: “You can imagine how frustrated I am about this. This scheme had been approved and drawn up and then we got an email explaining that it had been put on hold, as have a lot of schemes.

“The decision as to whether the crossing will go ahead probably won’t be made until at least Christmas. Officers will then have to prioritise work as there are lots of schemes people will be after.”

Cllr Barclay suggested Backwell Parish Council writes to North Somerset’s executive member for highways, Councillor Elfan Ap Rees - who will be making the final decision - to emphasise how important the scheme is to the village and to state how disappointed they are that the scheme has been postponed.

Cllr Ap Rees said: “Everyone knows cuts are coming and to achieve the savings required of us won’t be without pain.

“We have already seen cuts in our road safety funding from government and we could be looking at having to find new savings of millions of pounds across all our services. As a result we need to think extremely carefully where our funding is spent. It may be that this scheme could be resurrected in the future but I cannot offer any guarantees.

“I appreciate that the parish council was contributing towards the cost of this scheme but we are faced with difficult decisions across all the council services over the coming months and are having to reprioritise all expenditure.”

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