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 National Trust
The National Trust is Europe’s largest conservation charity with over five million members. Established over 120 years ago, its primary purpose is to promote the preservation of special places for the benefit of the nation.
The Trust is the custodian of several historic properties in South Somerset, including Lytes Cary Manor, a short distance to the west of the proposed road scheme (see applicant’s Environmental Constraints Plan). Further down the A303 are Tintinhull Garden, Montacute House and St Michael’s Hill, and Barrington Court. Together with a number of smaller NT properties, these form a notable component of South Somerset’s tourism and visitor economy.
The Trust is aware of the longstanding challenges of highway access to the South West via the A303 route corridor, and the benefits for local communities, visitors and the wider economy that could arise from road improvements. We broadly support the upgrading of the A303 between Sparkford to Ilchester, subject to the following comments.
Natural and historic environments
The proposed dualling falls some way short of (and involves no changes to) the Podimore roundabout, adjacent to Lytes Cary estate. Therefore, there are unlikely to be significant impacts on the landscape, views and settings of Trust properties. However, the proposed dual carriageway would pass over Camel Hill and includes new junctions and cuttings, so it may be visible in the wider landscape, including from Lytes Cary estate and in long distance views from St Michael’s Hill. Any such impacts should be carefully considered, and ameliorated through detailed design and mitigation as appropriate (including new landscaping to provide screening, and minimising light pollution from any street lighting).
In respect of ecology, surface water run-off from the new road is likely to enter the River Cary, which flows through the Lytes Cary estate downstream. Any potential water pollution should be carefully assessed and addressed through detailed design and mitigation; the same applies for other ecological impacts of the scheme. Ecological enhancements should be secured where possible.
Business impacts during construction
The National Trust properties in South Somerset received 381,000 visitors in 2017/18, and the numbers have been growing over recent years. According to our own analysis, a high proportion of these visitors travel via the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester. An estimated 79% of Trust members do so to access Lytes Cary (and 54% for Tintinhull, 43% for Montacute and 25% for Barrington). Given the above, we request that the Trust is identified as a stakeholder in the Traffic Management Plan, and that it is invited to be represented at the monthly traffic co-ordination meetings. In respect of traffic management, we would want advanced warning of road diversions and closures, in order to advise our visitors, and would ask for additional signage to reduce the impacts on our properties.
The Trust broadly supports the proposed road improvement between Sparkford and Ilchester and requests that the issues raised in this representation are given appropriate weight and attention through the DCO process, including through the use of Requirements where appropriate.