Highways England is proposing a package of interventions for the A303/A30/A358 corridor, with the aim of improving the vital road link between the South West, London and the South East.
As part of this, Highways England is proposing to upgrade the local trunk road network by dualling the single carriageway sections of the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester.
The scheme is currently in the route optioneering stage, whereby a number of proposals and options are being examined and tested. Technical, engineering and environmental studies are ongoing as the assessment period continues. The output of those studies will inform the feasibility and design of the various route options under consideration.
Highways England is also liaising with a small number of officers from Somerset County Council, South Somerset District Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council to ensure that route options under consideration are coordinated with other planned improvements around the area.
As the scheme is classed as a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) it will require a development consent order (DCO) to allow construction to begin. This process will involve detailed consultation with the general public, local communities and stakeholders before a DCO application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.
The first consultation round is planned to take place later this year following publication of the proposed route options. Further consultation will take place following selection of preferred route options in 2017. Highways England will be seeking input from parish councils to ensure everyone in the community has an opportunity to express their views throughout the DCO pre-application process. More information about the DCO process can be viewed at the Planning Inspectorate website at http://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/application-process/the-process/
In advance of the first consultation period, Highways England will be writing to individuals with an interest in the land within the vicinity of the A303 between Sparkford and Ilchester to seek the permission of land owners and tenants to access the land to undertake environmental survey work that is required as part of the route optioneering process. A copy of the letter that will be issued to land owners is attached for your reference. Highways England wishes to ensure that parish representatives are informed about these activities as councillors may receive related enquiries from members of the community.
In the meantime, if you have any queries relating to the proposed improvements, please do not hesitate to contact the project team through the Highways England Information Line: 0300 123 5000 or using the project e-mail address: A303SparkfordtoIlchesterDualling@highwaysengland.co.uk if you have any questions or wish to discuss.