Plans to build £100m of critical infrastructure in North Somerset are moving forward after North Somerset Council signed on the dotted line.
Following a successful bid to Homes England the council has now finalised the terms of its contract that will see the government’s housing agency invest £97.1m in the area.
The funding will be used to design and build Banwell bypass and a 900-place secondary school expansion at Parklands Village, as well as to improve local roads and utilities, and for flood mitigation.
Following the signing, concept drawings and other technical documents for the bypass were released to the industry to begin the process to find a construction contractor. Based on the safeguarded bypass route, these illustrations show possibilities such as locations for junctions and the potential width of the new road to allow companies to bid for the chance to build the scheme.
Engineers will now start to collect essential technical information and data, including ecological and watercourse surveys, traffic modelling, and ground investigations to start developing designs.
These designs will also be informed by community conversations and consultation with parish councils, residents, business, and organisations in Banwell and surrounding villages.
The council’s executive member with responsibility for planning and transport, Cllr James Tonkin, said: “Finalising the contract means the project’s teams can start to use this critical funding to progress designs.
“A lot of technical work has already been happening behind the scenes, so it is exciting to see these badly needed and, in the case of the bypass, long-awaited schemes develop.
“We are already talking to organisations and individuals who have helped shape our thinking, and we want to get more people involved as officers start to move to more detailed design work.
“We expect to start conversations in the autumn with a full public consultation process to follow next year.”
The schemes are expected to support around 7,500 new homes, more than half of which are due to be built as part of Weston Villages (Haywood Village and Parklands Village). The remainder will be decided by the new Local Plan process.
The infrastructure should be in place by 2024.