Next to para 3.21 is a little map (I imagine a portion of a national map called something like ‘Indicative Major Roads Network developments’ and originating in the Department for Transport). Just south of Wells and north of a road coloured blue for ‘Strategic Roads Network’ (Motorways and the proposed Expressways, in this case the A303) is a road coloured green – selected A-roads to be part of the Major Roads Network.
This is the A361 and the A39, from Nunney Catch near Frome to Junction 23 on the M5.
The map is ‘indicative’, so presumably shows a likelihood rather than a firmed-up plan, but it appears to be what MP James Heappey is basing a concerted lobbying campaign on. I assume that the A361/A39 is included on the map because it is a designated freight route.
I think what it shows quite clearly is that rather than an Expressway, as I had thought earlier, it is envisaged as a step down from that, an improved A-road; and that the real reason for its inclusion would be because it is part of a national road network carrying transnational traffic, and – though it is being promoted as being the answer to Glastonbury's traffic problems – in reality it has little to do with Glastonbury or anywhere else such as Walton or Ashcott, except that we happen to be on the route.
For it to function as part of the Major Roads Network it would almost certainly need modifications to avoid ‘pinch points’ such as Chilkwell Street, Pilton, Ashcott etc. The resulting Glastonbury bypass (plus associated development) would run just north of the Tor, causing serious damage to Glastonbury’s iconic landscape.
The Major Roads Network is intended to be a new tier of roads, in between the Strategic Roads Network and ordinary local roads. It comes as part of the government’s new Transport Investment Strategy that was announced in July. In August James Heappey came to address Glastonbury’s 'A361 committee’ (set up by the Town Council in order to explore possible answers to the acknowledged problem of heavy traffic on A361/Chilkwell street). He came – so far as I can see – in order to sell the committee members this plan on the basis of supposed economic benefits to Glastonbury. In other words the people of Glastonbury, and in particular the A361 committee, are amongst those being lobbied.
This is an update on the post dated 18/10/17, 'A new Glastonbury relief road: what is really going on?'