The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.
A303 Sparkford to Ilchester Dualling
From Queen Camel, Sparkford and West Camel Parish Councils (Joint Submission) (Queen Camel, Sparkford and West Camel Parish Councils (Joint Submission))
The three neighbouring parish councils of Queen Camel, Sparkford and West Camel jointly agree that the proposed development will be of great benefit to all three communities but jointly submits that there are three elements in the proposals which are detrimental to both general A303 users and local communities, fail to represent ‘value for money’ to the UK taxpayer and would cause unnecessary environmental damage in both the short and the long term:
1 Hazelgrove (Sparkford) Junction). The unorthodox design and layout of the proposed Hazlegrove junction (unique we believe in the UK) will have a negative environmental impact on local communities.
i. It will destroy far more of the (Listed) Hazlegrove parkland than necessary.
ii. it will needlessly increase the length of journeys to and from Hazlegrove School.
iii. It will needlessly increase the distance travelled by traffic joining the eastbound carriageway of the A303 from the A359 (south).
iv. It will encourage such traffic to take a short cut through the middle of Sparkford village.
v. It will encourage traffic to avoid this junction and use the east bound junction above West Camel (Downhead Junction).
The Joint Councils have engaged ‘Fairhurst’, consulting and civil engineers to review and agree its alternative design (which is almost identical to that originally shown in the route selection phase), which, we believe, will be cheaper to construct, uses less of the listed Hazelgrove parkland, reduces the journey distance for parents and children to and from Hazelgrove school, reduces (and therefore, makes more practicable) access to the east bound A303 and will reduce ‘rat-running’ through Sparkford and West Camel villages. ‘Fairhurst’ have indicated that taking verification of our alternative design beyond the production of a professional standard CAD drawing would cost the Joint Councils well in excess of £10 - £15K and would in any case replicate much of the design work already undertaken by Mott-MacDonald on behalf of HE.
Detailed costings and design information has been repeatedly requested during the pre-DCO phase and has either been withheld or supplied at too high a level.
The Joint Councils respectfully suggest that the applicant be required to consider our alternative design and produce detailed engineering arguments and costings that prove beyond reasonable doubt that our alternative design would not be demonstrably more environmentally sustainable and cheaper to construct.
2. Retention of the old A303 as a ‘local road’ – Despite appeals from all three parish councils during the consultation period, the application fails to give serious consideration to the advantages of retaining the carriageway of the existing A303 for the use of local traffic, alongside the new dual carriageway between Hazlegrove and Podimore . This is wholly inconsistent with similar HE schemes in the South West (A30 at Bodmin) where retention of the old road is seen as a priority.
Such a ‘parallel road’ would:
i. Substantially reduce both the cost and the duration of construction.
ii. Improve traffic flow on the A303 during construction.
iii. Greatly reduce congestion on local roads during the construction period.
iv. Give the A303 added resilience and improve access for emergency vehicles in the event of road traffic accidents on the dual carriageway.
iv. 'Future proof’ the local road network when the A303 becomes an Expressway from which slow moving (including agricultural) vehicles are excluded.
The Joint Councils have engaged ‘Fairhurst’ Consulting and Civil Engineers to verify that previous proposals to dual this section of the A303 that included a local road, remain practicable and respectfully submit that the applicant should be required to reconsider retaining the existing A303 carriageway alongside the new dual carriageway. As in point 1 above, detailed design works by ‘Fairhust’ would be prohibitively expensive for three small parish councils to consider and would in essence replicate much of the work already undertaken by Mott-MacDonald.
3. Proposed diversion via A359 - The applicant’s proposed diversion of A303 traffic through Queen Camel, Marston Magna and Mudford villages into Yeovil to return via the A37 to the A303 at Ilchester are totally and utterly unacceptable to these local communities. The applicant's bland assurances that traffic will be ‘managed’ through a TMP do not reassure communities that suffer congestion ‘rat-running’ through unclassified local road each and every summer and whenever the A303 becomes congested, in either direction. Drivers will follow their SatNav devises along unclassified roads in an attempt to find a shorter diversionary route which will endanger the lives of people living in local communities.
Pre-provision of a retained ‘local road’ linking up sections of the retained (de-trunked) A303 would alleviate the need to close the A303 to traffic during construction of the proposed dual carriageway.
The Joint Councils respectfully suggest that the DCO application include details of how the applicant will mitigate the adverse impact of self-diverting traffic and further investigation be undertaken in to the provision of AMPR cameras on junctions accessing routes where HGV traffic is banned.
We also ask that the applicant be required to mitigate traffic along A359 through High St Sparkford, Queen Camel and on the unclassified roads through West Camel.
Clerk to West Camel Parish Council
On behalf of Queen Camel, Sparkford and West Camel Parish Councils.