Nailsea Town Council meeting 3rd August 2022

Almost unprecedentedly there was a gathering of 20 members of the public at this meeting. Most were there to make representations about the dangers posed by traffic to pedestrians on Trendlewood Way, but some were there as a result of reading a call on Facebook, Nailsea Forum and via letters in North Somerset Times (NST) to be more involved in the town council.

The Trendlewooders were there because they were worried about the increase of traffic and its speed along Trendlewood Way, and the absence of any safe place to cross.  The road is deliberately quite curvy – to reduce traffic speed – but this makes sight lines quite short and worsened by the many parked cars, and also makes it difficult for residents to exit their roads safely. Apparently, because of the congestion at the Tesco (east) end of Nailsea, and Nailsea Park/Station Road, many vehicles from the west end of the town now prefer to use St Mary’s Park, Whiteoak Way, The Perrings, Queens Road, Trendlewood to reach the Wraxall road to Bristol, rather than go through the town or along Silver Street. This will get much worse when the houses off Engine Lane, Youngwood Lane etc are occupied.

The Council response was that this was a concern which they had been working on for years, and their hands are tied by North Somerset Council. Some expressed the view that NTC (Nailsea Town Council) could use its voice more to speak for the people of Nailsea.

The Council did agree to try to resolve the matter further.

A Nailsea Action Group member then asked three questions.

1. A clarification about NTC’s response to the Weston College building application. Why was the plan not voted for and what was the message given to North Somerset Council given that it was merely referred back to NSC?

Although the councillors have long wanted this site developed, agreement could not be reached on the many issues that surrounded the height and size of the building, so the matter was referred back.

2. What progress is being made with the NTC claim from National Grid (NG) for compensation?

Cllr. Packham gave a verbal report.  He, and followed by others, felt they had been let down by NG and advice received from consultants which suggested they could make c£350,000 claim. Apparently now that Barratts own the land and not NTC, it is Barratts who would have to make the claim and they are allegedly uninterested in doing so. The long and short of it was that Cllr. Packham felt there was no further mileage in pursuing the matter further but there was not universal agreement about this and eventually it was agreed that a final decision would not be made until the full council meeting after next and that no further money be spent on the claim. Apparently no requests for payment from the consultants or barristers and lawyers involved in this claim have yet been made.

3. What the position was regarding a decision on spending the Engine Lane (EL) revenues?

The Clerk said that a meeting for the public to consider progress is arranged for 17th August and the details will be appearing on the website in due course.

Thereafter the meeting proceeded through the agenda, but with councillors repeatedly coming back to the issues raised in public participation. There was much talk about how much councillors support the town and work behind the scenes. NTC proudly presented a document just written with the title of “Welcome to the Nailsea Place Making Strategy”. Characteristically this isn’t part of the agenda for the meeting and not anywhere on the Town Council website that we could find. However you can see some of the notes from the workshops last year here though https://twotowns.place/

The public participants were quite vocal about what the Council does not do enough of in their view, which was to speak up more for the town and its residents. This provoked a number of responses from councillors all saying that their powers were limited, hands tied etc. by regulation, and dependence on North Somerset Council. The public were advised that they could comment on the plans via the North Somerset Council website.