Concerns A303 dualling project could be ‘buried’

A man outside a diner

Alex Reilley said the A303 was an important route

Business leaders fear plans to improve a busy road will be “buried in the long grass” after National Highways said it was pausing the project.

Sections of the A303 in Somerset were due to be converted into dual carriageways.

At Southfields, 8.5 miles of the A358 joining up with Junction 25 of the M5 at Taunton was also due to be expanded.

But before Christmas National Highways said it was reviewing proposals to mitigate the impact on the environment.

It said: “With support of government, National Highways has taken the decision to pause the development consent order application while we support a review into the environmental mitigation proposed for the project, this will move the submission date into 2023.”

Tim Jones, Chairman of the South West Business Council, told the BBC: “I strongly suspect that with what we are hearing from Whitehall at the moment, about reduced budgets and restricted expenditure, that this scheme is going to be buried deeply in the long grass.”

A man talking by the side of the A303

Tim Jones said he was concerned the project may be shelved

Alex Reilley, founder and chairman of restaurant and bar chain Loungers, which has branches in Wales and the south west, said the A303 needed investment.

“The A303 needs investment because it’s clearly a very important road which people will use if they are not going the M4/M5 route,” he said.

National Highways declined to comment further when approached by BBC West.

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