WinTAG’s response to North Somerset Council’s proposed traffic mitigation in Winscombe – the impact of the increase in traffic arising from the Banwell Bypass and new housing developments

Following the Council’s decision about the route of the Banwell Bypass in October 2021, WinTAG asked the parish council and North Somerset Council for mitigation in Winscombe to reduce the negative effects of the bypass. It was important to have requested this at an early stage as there would be implications for the village should the bypass and its associated 3000+ houses be built.

In November 2021, North Somerset Council’s Banwell Bypass Team met with members of the parish council and representatives of local groups in Winscombe and Sandford. The Bypass Team presented their proposed mitigation in Winscombe for the impact of the Banwell Bypass, the new house building and other developments, on traffic in the village.

The Bypass Team proposed one short piece of mitigation between the village centre and Sidcot Lane traffic lights. This was to be a 20mph zone with a 20mph speed limit with appropriate traffic calming measures. No mitigation was proposed for Woodborough Road, Sandford Road or Church Road, all of which suffer from speeding, through-traffic and heavy goods vehicles. The team also stated that there would be an increase in traffic and therefore as a result, no doubt, more congestion in Winscombe.

WinTAG responded that that the mitigation proposed by North Somerset Council was not adequate in scale and scope and did not have the geographical reach to be effective. This response was based on the views of residents who have been campaigning for 20mph zones in the village to tackle existing traffic problems.

The Bypass Team said that it expects as much traffic to exit the northern section of the bypass onto the A371 as onto the A368. There is therefore justification for Winscombe and Sandford both being covered by similar levels of mitigation. Not only this, but the schemes for each village should be ‘joined up’ since Winscombe and Sandford share many of the same problems with traffic and need similar approaches to mitigation. The Parish Council agrees that the parish should be looked at in its entirety. If parts of the parish between Banwell and the A38 are easier to access than others, drivers will no doubt try to find short-cuts through the villages using smaller roads and lanes such as Church Road and the Lynch in Winscombe. 

WinTAG suggested that the design of the mitigation in each village would need to reflect the difference in the arrangement of the roads. Sandford has a trunk road running through it and Winscombe has at least three heavily used roads meeting in the centre of the village. Through-traffic is a major contributor to Winscombe’s traffic problems, and it will increase as the bypass encourages more vehicles to travel between the A370 and the A38 using our roads. The village can expect to see an increase in congestion as roads which carry the additional traffic on the A371 and A368, converge in the centre of the village. This heavy and congested traffic will also affect the extent to which residents choose to use any public transport or to walk and cycle to and from the village.

At the parish council’s request, NSC conducted a survey of traffic volumes and speeds on four of Winscombe’s roads in October 2021. This recording was part of the PC’s investigations into 20mph speed limits to address Winscombe’s existing traffic problems. The information about the volume and composition of traffic on the 4 roads, can be used to support a case for extending the scope and scale of mitigation in Winscombe from what was initially proposed. The Parish Council is considering the results of the survey and reviewing the areas of the village that experiences high levels of traffic and speeding vehicles. A preliminary analysis of the results by WinTAG showed a high volume of through-traffic and HGVs despite there being a weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes in the village. Further analysis is being undertaken.

The table below shows the impact of NSC’s forecast increase of 10%-25% in daily traffic and 100-150 additional peak hour vehicles within 2 years of the bypass being completed, on the 4 roads identified by the parish council as warranting particular attention. Only traffic levels for the A371 and A368 in 2026 have been forecast by NSC. Winscombe has roads which feed into these, and this will affect the actual total number of vehicles in the village. 

Recorded and forecast average daily traffic flows on Winscombe’s roads

 2018-9/2020[1]2021[2]2026 (up 10%)[3]2026 (up 25%)
A371 Castle Hill, Banwell[4]7541/5643N/A82959426
Winsc Hill – Church Rd4000/10231175[5]/913[6]44005000
A 371 Woodborough RoadN/A690275928628
A371 Sidcot LaneN/A8348918310435
Hill Road-Sandford Road3053[7]291733583816
Peak hour traffic A371947 1047-1097[8] 

The Banwell Bypass itself, new housing and improvements to the M5 motorway junction 21, will all result in an increase in traffic using Winscombe’s roads over the next 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. They will affect the overall volume of traffic, the amount of through-traffic and the prevalence of freight vehicles (LGV and HGV). Despite the Council’s reluctance to provide traffic forecasts beyond 2026, WinTAG is aware of what level of traffic can be expected in 5, 10 and 20 years from research into the impact of other bypasses. We will be writing about longer-term forecasts in a future article.

In addition to the Council not releasing forecasts of traffic flows beyond 2026, it has not revealed the scale of the impact of all the new housing on increasing traffic on our roads. However, there are other sources of information we can use to tell us how many more car trips we can expect, depending on the number of new houses in each development. There are to be 3000+ new houses built in the vicinity of the bypass, probably on the northwest fringe of Banwell. There are also new houses being built in Winscombe (at Woodborough Grange) and on the other side of the A38 including Cheddar, all of which will affect traffic in Winscombe. WinTAG will be reporting on the implications of these new housing developments for traffic in Winscombe in a future article.

Unfortunately, there is little that we can do to affect the expected increase in traffic in Winscombe as this is largely down to vehicles entering our village via the A371, A368 and A38 and travelling between Weston-super-Mare to the north and west, and the A38 to the south and east of Winscombe. Whilst there is clearly an element of local traffic, we know our roads are used as a short-cut between the A370 and A38 (referred to by the Council as ‘the corridor’).

Through research and investigations into best practice when seeking sustainable solutions to high traffic volumes, congestion and speeding, WinTAG’s next article will set out in detail, the mitigation which we believe should be implemented in Winscombe by NSC, to protect residents and the environment from the impact of the bypass and related developments.

Winscombe Traffic and Transport Action Group, January 2022

[1] 2018-19 data baseline for NSC’s forecasts, / 2020 data during April lockdown

[2] October 21 recordings – during the pandemic

[3] Forecasts from 2018 or 2019 baseline where known, 2021 if 2018/19 data not available.

[4] From 2024 – the Southern Link Road

[5] This is the 4-day average when the road was open during the recording period in October.

[6] This is the 7-day average 7-13th October; the road was closed for 4 of these days.

[7] Figures supplied by CALRAG Churchill

[8] Based on 100-150 additional vehicles forecast at peak hours by NSC

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