Bright ideas to shine in new look Sunnybank

Bridgwater’s Hamp residents are about to see their ideas for improving their community come to life.

Rhode Lane, outside the shops in the area known as Sunnybank, will be transformed by the work of The Bridgwater Way’s DIY Streets project.

The street in front of the shops will be raised and improved materials will be used to create better footpaths and access between the shops and green area. These works will make the area a safer place to walk and cycle and revitalise what should be the hub of the Hamp community.

Before that, Grenville House – at the heart of Sunnybank – is being given a face-lift. Homes in Sedgemoor and Sedgemoor District Council are giving the shops and flats a fresh paint job and new guttering. This work starts at the end of February.

Patrick Williams, Sustrans Senior Project officer, said: “This area should be a thriving hub for the community, but the road, access to the green space and the general environment make that difficult.

“These road changes have been designed by the community, for the community and everyone should benefit. From the residents who want to create a better environment to walk and cycle safely, to the local shops who will find themselves in a much more appealing setting.

“Hamp residents are the experts in their neighbourhood, and their ideas and contributions were vital to ensuring success and positive change that will work for Hamp, both now and into the future.”

The area was highlighted by locals as needing improvements, with issues of traffic safety, poor pavements, difficult access to access green space, as well as the general look of the area.

Seven workshops run by DIY Streets – a Sustrans project being carried out as part of The Bridgwater Way – allowed the community to come up with ideas for improvements which will soon become reality.

Work is due to start in the Spring. It is scheduled to last around 12 weeks and there will be road local road closures and diversions.

“More than 164 people took part in our workshops,” said Patrick. “I’d like to thank everyone for all their amazing ideas. There will inevitably be some disruption in the short-term but the long-term gain will be well worth it.

“Anyone wanting more information please do visit us at 1 Edinburgh Road, we’d love to show you the design and discuss the changes.”

The Bridgwater Way, funded by the Department for Transport, aims to transform travel in the town by making cycling and walking for work, school and fun, easier and safer. It includes 6.5miles of new or improved cycle paths and walking routes and a host of activities to encourage sustainable transport and ease congestion. The project is being delivered through a partnership of Somerset County Council, Sustrans and Sedgemoor District Council. For more detail please visit the Bridgwater Way website www.thebridgwaterway.co.uk

Councillor Harvey Siggs, Somerset County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Walking and cycling are economical and healthy ways of getting to work or school that also help tackle congestion. Making them safer is one of the ways of encouraging people to use them. The local residents helped come up with these plans and I’m sure they’ll be excited to see them coming to life. We apologise for any inconvenience in the short-term, but the long-term gains will be more than worth it.”