Residents have called the changes to the Clevedon seafront ‘stupid’ and ‘dangerous’ and say the changes are unnecessary. A petition to stop the move has garnered over 4,000 signatures.
Plans will see a handful of new one-way systems, cycle lanes and speed limits introduced, with work starting on Hill Road just after Easter. It is hoped this will contribute to North Somerset Council‘s commitment to promoting healthier lifestyles and tackling the climate emergency while helping to complete the 13-mile Pier to Pier path – from Weston to Clevedon.
However, the plans were met with considerable opposition, with MP Liam Fox calling the changes “the craziest plans I’ve seen in my 30 years as an MP”. A banner expressing anger at the changes also appeared on the barriers along the beach.
READ MORE: Work on controversial Clevedon seafront changes set to start after Easter
Residents did not express their anger in person, but have now left comments on the petition. One member, Stephen Knight, said: “These proposals are actually dangerous. Cyclists are not obeying the rules of the road (or anywhere else for that matter). They come at you in silence and they certainly don’t don’t mind pedestrians I know the council has some “free” money to use for this program but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Our beautiful seafront is fine. Leave it alone.
John Trask added: “There is no need for a cycle lane here. The seafront road has existed here with very few problems over the years. The author of this petition understands that. Spend money for something worthwhile that benefits the whole community. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The refurbishment is expected to cost around £500,000 and is part of the £175million Department for Transport (DfT) grant, which will see the construction of new safe routes so people can walk and cycle safely this year .
Work on Hill Road is due to start after the Easter holidays and last up to eight weeks. Beach improvements will begin in the fall, when attendance is lowest. This will avoid all key holiday dates to minimize the impact on local businesses and retain enjoyment of the area over the summer.
The first of the works, which will take place on Hill Road, is expected to start after the Easter holidays and last up to eight weeks. Beach improvements will begin in the fall, when attendance is lowest.
Another user, Andy Chappel, said that despite the need for seaside work, these proposed changes are not the answer. “I strongly disagree with many of the comments made here, the seafront and Clevedon in general needs a lot of work to make it suitable for all rather than cars. The pier and seafront scenic seafront are severely hampered by parking and the lack of useful public space.
“I would say though that this plan is not the answer at all. It is poorly planned, consulted and unsuitable for the future. There is a heavy reliance on car travel here, more than I have seen in many more remote towns and locations – which absolutely need to be addressed and compromises made. But these plans are not for everyone – in the least.”
Tom Lewis-Smith said the money should be distributed elsewhere: “Normally I would be in favor of changes like this, but I really can’t say what problem NSC is trying to solve with this program. If they want make things better for cyclists, fix the potholes! And with the money left over, a new playground and skate park would be nice.”
North Somerset Council has, however, been liaising with local businesses, having changed plans following consultation in 2021. Councilor Mike Solomon, Council’s executive member responsible for sustainable travel, said: “We have largely viewed the draft proposals in April 2021 and the program was modified with local input and insights from residents and businesses.
“This program is supported by local councillors, Clevedon City Council, the Clevedon Business Improvement District (BID) and the Pier Trust. Many other interested parties have also contributed to the development of the program and are supportive of the improvements modified.
“We believe we now have the right program and have modified implementation timelines to minimize any disruption to businesses during peak summer and holiday periods.”
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