Residents call for underpass closure

A NAILSEA underpass which has become a haven for anti-social behaviour may be replaced by a pedestrian crossing.

North Somerset Council has bowed to public pressure after years of complaints about the state of the subway, which goes under Stock Way North to the High Street, from Heath Road.

Residents living nearby have called for it to be sealed off and filled in because groups of teenagers gather there at night drinking and causing a nuisance, as well as leaving drugs paraphernalia and broken bottles and spraying graffiti on it.

A council worker recently sent to clean it saw a man injecting drugs, homeless people reportedly sleep in it and people walking home from the town’s pubs frequently urinate in it.

One homeowner has even gone so far as to stop paying his council tax until the situation is resolved.

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Simon Websper, aged 52, of Heath Road, said North Somerset Council has agreed in principle to close the underpass but as money is not available the authority should put lockable gates up to save cleaning it.

Now Nailsea Town Council is looking at whether it can be replaced by a crossing but councillors are concerned about it being a public right of way.

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Town council clerk Ian Morrell said: “Inevitably underpasses attract some anti-social behaviour and our town orderly has reported a number of problems for example people using it as a public toilet, broken glass and occasional syringes.

“The underpass also tends to flood in heavy rain.

“Reviewing the use of the underpass makes sense, but the town council’s concern is with the legalities of the public right of way and the potential loss of the underpass without ensuring that people can cross the road safely some other way.”

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said: “We are aware of the issue and sympathise with residents that are trying to get the subway filled in.

“Due to financial pressures we are unable to fill it in at the moment as major structural schemes are taking priority.

“We will continue to look for alternative funding for this.”

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