OPINIONS are divided over plans to improve visibility at a ‘dangerous’ junction in Chard.

Cllr Nigel Pearson, who represents Chard North on Somerset County Council, approached the highways department with concerns about the safety of the Victoria Avenue/Furnham Road junction.

He passed on several complaints he had received that cars parked close to the junction on Furnham Road made it difficult to see oncoming traffic when pulling out onto the busy road.

He has suggested a possible solution would be to extend the double yellow lines which currently run a few metres around the corner to stop cars parking so close to the junction and obstructing drivers’ views.

Mr Pearson said: “Visibility can be very poor when cars are parked there – a driver can’t see unless they move half way out into the road.

“I don’t know how many times I have pulled out of that junction and had cars speeding towards me.

“It’s a problem that really needs to be solved.

“Extending the double yellow lines seems a sensible thing to do. It’s a no-brainer. That junction is so dangerous and if I wasn’t trying to make it safer, I couldn’t say I was in favour of improving road safety in Chard.”

Driver Chris James agreed the double yellow lines should be extended.

He said: “I have had so many near misses – you can’t see what’s coming down from your left without pulling right out, and normally it’s cars coming towards you at speed.

“It’s one of the reasons we have stopped shopping at the Tesco in Chard and going to Ilminster instead. It’s that bad. We drive around the block to avoid it.”

But not everyone would be in favour of the changes, not least people who live next to the junction.

Mark Bartlett, one of the residents who would be affected, said: “Living on a busy road, we are well aware of issues of road safety at this junction adjacent to our homes – we have often observed vehicles greatly exceeding the 30mph speed limit.

“Some years ago three vehicles belonging to the homes affected by this proposal were totally written off by a speeding motorist.

“Should there be a similar incident in the future, we cannot imagine how much greater damage would be inflicted on our homes, our families and any incidental passers-by if our only protection is two lines of yellow paint. It is observable that motorists slow down when approaching parked cars.

“It is our opinion that extending the double yellow lines will have an adverse effect on road safety here. The proposal does not appear to consider any strategic alternatives, for example inclusion of a pedestrian crossing midway between Holyrood Academy and the Victoria Avenue junction or a mini roundabout.”

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: “We are currently considering changes to the line markings at the junction of Furnham Road and Victoria Avenue in Chard.

“However, before any decisions are made we will invite interested parties and members of the public to have their say.”