The results of my New Year Resident’s survey are clear: Development, roads and drainage are the key concerns for Blagdon and Churchill residents.
20% of respondants want North Somerset to do more to improve our local roads and drainage, with a similar number stating that the main focus should be on development and housing. Improving public transport and cracking down on littering and improving waste collection were the next most popular themes.
The good news is that these are areas that I am working with officers and Council colleagues to deliver progress in the coming months:
Roads and Drainage:
A significant amount of investment has gone in to improving and updating drains across the ward. This has delivered improvements, but there is still a lot more to do – particularly towards Blackmoor where a lot of water ends up from further upstream and in parts of Blagdon where there are ongoing problems. I will continue to put pressure on the Council to continue to invest in drainage – and to keep up a regular program of maintainance to avoid blockages.
On roads, residents are concerned about the quality of the road surfaces, as well as speeding and safety on a number of our lanes. Investment is going into upgrading the quality of the road surfaces, not least a £227,000 in upgrading the A38 in Churchill. But again, more needs to be done to undo years of neglect under the previous administration and I will be working with officers and executive members to ensure that investment comes to the villages – and will be keeping a close eye on the Banwwell bypass to make sure investments are made to mitigate any negative impact on our villages.
Speeding is a concern for many – this is mainly a police matter – but I have been talking to residents and working with officers to understand if there is a case of new 20MPH zones and to carry out traffic surveys on the areas of greatest concern.
Many respondents were keen to see additional support for improving active travel and making cycling and walking safer. This is something we will see progress on soon – so watch this space!
Housing and Development:
A clear message came through here that residents are concerned about new development and housebuilding in the ward, although there is a reasonable degree of support for more affordable housing. We were successful in fending off the inappropriate development at Dinghurst Lane and I continue to fight to make sure the new local plan which is currently under development protects the character and special nature of our villages and rural areas.
Waste and Recycling:
The service levels provided by Biffa – particularly in Blagdon – have been unnacceptable. This is why I was strongly in favour of the decision taken by the Council last year to end the contract and set up a new, more accountable waste and recycling service. I will be keeping up the pressure to make sure the new company delivers improved levels of service – particularly for residents who use assisted collection.