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Villagers 'left stranded' after emergency drain work shuts road

By The Bristol Post  |  Posted: June 14, 2012

Councillors Donald Davies and Arthur Taylor in Pill where the bus route is suspended

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Residents in Pill say they have been left stranded after the main road through the village was closed for a week so drains can be repaired.

North Somerset Council closed the main Heywood Road through the village from Springfield Road to the King’s Head on Wednesday morning.

Engineers had been carrying out work to the drains in the centre of the village and had set up temporary signals to control the traffic.

But after discovering the problem was more serious than first thought, the authority took the decision to close the road for up to seven days to allow engineers to resolve the issue.

Notices went up on bus stops on Tuesday night warning residents of the impending closure.

The closure has meant the 358 and 359 buses cannot get to the village, forcing residents – many who are elderly – to walk a mile and a half to catch a bus on the A369.

Pill councillor Donald Davies said he had received numerous complaints about the sudden closure and was asking North Somerset Council to provide a shuttle bus from the village to take residents to the nearest bus stop.

Mr Davies said: “To leave the village without a bus service is ridiculous. Notices were put up on the bus stops on Tuesday night and the closure came into force on Wednesday morning.

“The road closed from 9.30am on Wednesday so the people going to work will now have to walk from the A369 back into the village.

“A lot of people in the village, particularly the elderly, rely on the buses to get into Bristol and Portishead.

“I had one lady knock on my door late on Tuesday night worried that she had to go to Bristol to see her husband in hospital and was concerned she would be unable to get there.

“I have asked North Somerset to provide some sort of shuttle bus to get people to the operational bus stops but have been told there is no money available to fund this.

“Essentially by closing the road and preventing the buses from running it has cut the village off and left people stranded.”

This is not the first time villagers have found themselves stranded and being forced to walk miles to catch a bus. The main road through Pill has had to be closed several times during severe winter weather, preventing buses from accessing the village.

North Somerset Council spokesman Nick Yates said: “This is emergency work. There are two parts of the road which need resurfacing as well. We are sorry for the inconvenience this is causing but we do need to carry out this work now.”

A spokesman for First said: “Services 358/359 will be unable to serve Pill from 9.30 on June 13 for seven days due to emergency drainage works. The works will close Heywood Road and due to the lack of a suitable alternative route for buses, services will be unable to serve Pill and will instead operate directly along Martcombe Road. All stops on the diversion route will be observed.”

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