Crowds protest imminent changes to Clevedon's seafront
- Credit: Cathy Hawkins
A large crowd of people gathered in Clevedon on Saturday (April 23) to protest the town's imminent seafront revamp.
Under plans created by North Somerset Council, a scheme will see new cycle lanes and one-way roads created next month as part of the Pier to Pier Way between Weston and Clevedon.
A protesting group called Save Our Seafront (S.O.S) convened outside the Clevedon Sailing Club to outline their fierce objection to the plans.
The group oppose what they see as an 'unnecessary' scheme which had 'not been properly consulted' with residents.
Some S.O.S members say the council's consultation with residents - conducted in April of last year - was 'unfit for purpose' and failed to include an option to reject the plans outright.
In addition, the group also suggest councillors have 'shut the people of Clevedon out of the debate' and dismissed calls for genuine discussion on the topic.
Last week Clevedon town councillors, who initially voted in favour of the scheme, have now written a letter to North Somerset Council's executive member for neighbourhoods and community services, Mike Solomon, to immediately halt the revamp.
S.O.S member, Cathy Hawkins, said: "Our councillors simply aren't listening to what the electorate want for our town.
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"Nobody I've spoken to want these changes made, in fact most I've met are actually up in arms about the plans.
"In the consultation it was clear to see the questions did not allow proper feedback of the plans.
"It only asked what people would like to see added and improved. There was a clear majority for extra parking, and very few wanted more cycling provision.
"We're very concerned, not only with removing free parking on the seafront, but under these plans, existing bus routes will be stripped from the elderly and vulnerable who live at the top of the town and will no longer be able to access our beautiful seafront.
"I'm a cyclist myself and I see no issue with how it currently works and I certainly don't want cyclists to take away facilities from our vulnerable residents."
Works began earlier this month with temporary one-way road signs placed on Hill Road.
The scheme will also introduce a 20mph speed limit between The Beach, Hill Road, Belleview and Seaview, along with changes to the bus routes and pavement widening.
The council says the £500,000 works will 'improve safety for all road users' and help to reduce the town's carbon footprint.
The authority has maintained it conducted an 'extensive' consultation for the scheme which sought the views of many seafront businesses. It said changes were made to the plans as a result of more than 1,000 suggestions from the public.
District councillor, Mike Solomon, said: "Both us and Clevedon Town Council signed-up to the climate emergency plan which outlined our policy to be carbon neutral by 2030.
"These plans are part of the active travel scheme which sets to improve Clevedon's access to alternative forms of travel by making areas pedestrian friendly and encouraging family and leisurely cyclists.
"The council will continue with its original plan which was backed eight to four in favour on the town council.
"It is also backed by Clevedon Business Improvement District (BID) and the Pier Trust.
"However, in response to some resident's concerns, we will review all of our active travel schemes in future so if things go wrong, they can be checked and changed.
"Disruption to businesses will be minimised during the busy summer and holiday periods.
"I believe we have the right scheme which will see benefits for both the people of Clevedon and town traders."