While the town waits for news of a new station, buses are claiming the news headlines. A new “bus priority corridor” linking Wellington to Taunton could be provided on the A38 to support new housing and employment in two of Somerset’s key towns. The county council is bidding for up to £83m from the government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund.
The funding can be used on projects to speed up the delivery of houses and employment sites where planning permission is already in place – such as building new roads or improved public transport links.
Around 60 per cent of Somerset residents currently use a car or van for part or all of their commute, according to the council’s own studies. With Wellington facing at least 700 more new homes being built at Jurston Farm and Bagley Rd in the next 10 years, road transport and congestion will be a major public issue.
A county council spokesman said: “The A38 corridor between Bridgwater, Taunton and Wellington is a particularly important link in supporting approximately 50 per cent of the growth and development of the county.
“Congestion is already an issue along sections of the corridor, and it will be important to increase the proportion of people who travel to and from the new development areas by public transport compared to current typical travel choices if severe congestion is to be avoided, and to enable the development areas to be fully built-out in due course.
“We will therefore progress proposals for a bus priority corridor on the A38 between Wellington, Taunton and Bridgwater, initially focusing on a first phase between Monkton Heathfield and Taunton town centre.”
The council has undertaken initial feasibility studies to assess what routes the buses would be able to take to and from these settlements and how the existing A38 may need to be enhanced to speed up journey times.
The spokesman added: “We will consider opportunities to develop bus priority for other key public transport corridors within the county over the longer-term, although the scale of planned development on other corridors and opportunity to physically accommodate bus priority measures is more limited.”