Businesses raise concerns with council's £500k seafront revamp
- Credit: Carrington Walker
North Somerset Council has announced changes to a £500,000 scheme which would see major changes to the road networks on Clevedon's seafront.
The council's active travel plan aims to revamp both The Beach and Hill Road with the most notable changes being the introduction of a one-way system, cycling lanes, widening pavements and a 20mph speed limit.
The council’s executive for neighbourhoods told the Times that the works will improve the experience of both residents and visitors of Clevedon.
Cllr Mike Solomon said: "This has been a very long and extensive consultation period and I believe the majority are pleased with its results.
"You will not please everybody, but, as a council, we aim to help our businesses and residents and this plan will do so."
"Changes to the system are based on a consultation which received more than 1,000 responses."
These amendments include providing more car parking, reducing the speed of cyclists, ensuring pedestrian safety, providing new dedicated loading facilities for businesses to prevent delivery vehicles from blocking pavements and ensuring access to driveways.
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Business owners had drawn attention to the apparent lack of future-proofing the plan has, particularly regarding electric charging points and drainage concerns.
Mr Solomon addressed these concerns by saying: "This is a Government budget to address our Active Travel Plan, we are aware of concerns with drainage, particularly on the seafront, and if this becomes an issue following the works we will act quickly to address it.
"We are also regularly having meetings with electric vehicle (EV) charging points being the priority. This plan leaves scope for future developments to integrate technology such as EVs."
Clevedon Business Improvement District’s (BID) chair also believes the introductions will be overwhelmingly positive, though admitted there could be some issues.
George Grace said: "Clevedon BID has been approached by the council and had some say on the plans.
"I believe the one-way system and cycling lanes will boost custom in the area."
The recent introduction of buses along the seafront has also been scrutinised in light of the travel plans, particularly the chance of a bus pumping fuel into outside dining areas or polluting the seafront due to multiple stops for the newly-built crossings.
George added: "No one likes to have a bus pumping diesel next to you while you are eating outdoors but this should not be a major issue in the grand scheme of things."
However, several business owners and seafront residents have raised concerns about the proposal.
The owner of seafront business, Beach Pottery has told the Times that the scheme is ill-planned and is likely to hinder his business by removing parking bays away from his property.
Malcolm Simmonds said: "When I first raised my concerns to the Department of Transport on the topic, I was told that they were not aware my business, which has been in Clevedon for 35 years, existed.
"The plan is full of flaws and does not yet tackle the issue of drainage on Beach Road which can have a major effect on the area.
"It seems many businesses are being swept under the rug to push through a plan no one has asked."
Mr Simmonds also raised concerns regarding pedestrian safety with the addition of cycling paths.
He added: "Cyclist can pick up serious speed from the top of Marine Hill and may hit residents or injure themselves as the cycling paths end at the main road - meaning riders will most likely continue on to walkways."
Construction is expected to take place between January and March 2022.
For more information on the plans, visit www.n-somerset.inconsult.uk/cata/consultationHome