A303 Sparkford to Ilchester Dualling

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

Received 17 October 2018
From Mr James March Smith on behalf of Sparkford Hall


Sparkford Hall, owned by Mr James March Smith and Gillian Beddows, comprises 18 acres of land with gardens, a large detached country house, cottage and range of outbuildings that in recent years have been converted to offices and additional residential accommodation used for the running of a successful wedding venue and events business. The proposed scheme has implications to the running of the business, potential financial losses and a drop in property value.

In brief, concerns are summarised as follows:

• Co-operation and communication from Highways England has been very poor since the start of the proposed scheme and there is a significant lack of understanding or agreement to any mitigation works to help reduce losses to the business and running of the business pre, during and post the proposed works.

• Due to this lack of cooperation and advice we have had to seek advice from Counsel and have instructed our Barrister Mr Barry Denyer-Green, Falcon Chambers, Falcon Court, London.

• Numerous requests were made, however information regarding timings of works, diversions, access to the property during construction, temporary lighting, and noise and pollution has not been provided. This uncertainty is currently causing significant impact to potential future bookings of the business. Highways England and their representatives do not understand what implications the lack of information and assistance is causing to the business currently.

• Post-work concerns include an increase in noise as a result of the new route, due to topography and change in road surface will potentially have a significant impact to the running and future of the business. Noise surveys have been undertaken by Highways England, but have not been provided to the business as previously promised.

• The closure and loss of a public footpath which connects the property to the local village and public house, which customers use, will have an impact on the business. The mitigation of a new bridge would alleviate this concern. This has been suggested but not accepted by Highways England.

• Mitigation and other suggestions to reduce impact to the business and running during and post works have been suggested by the surveyor and owners of the business, but they have again been ignored. These include suggested diversions, possible earth bund, sound barriers and clearer and more detailed information provided to the public now.

It is understood that some of the above claims may be claimable under Section 10 or Part 1 to Highways England after works. It is, however, preferable to the owners that co-operation and discussion with Highways England is forthcoming now to help reduce these potential claims.