A SOMERSET councillor has formally objected to plans for the permanent closure of a rat run near Yeovil.

Chinnock Hollow runs from the A30 High Street in East Chinnock through the neighbouring village of Odcombe and onto the western edge of Yeovil, providing a much-used alternative route for motorists wishing to avoid the A30 through West Coker at peak times.

The road has been closed since February 2021 following a significant landslide involving 20 tonnes of rock and sand, as well as a large tree.

Following extensive studies, Somerset Council stated in August that it “could not justify” spending around £2.7m on reopening the road – meaning it will remain closed until further funding becomes available.

Local councillor Oliver Patrick has now formally objected to a new order which would see the road permanently closed to traffic.

The council has been consulting on a traffic regulation order (TRO) which, if implemented, would see the entirety of Chinnock Hollow permanently closed to motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

Chard & Ilminster News: Chinnock Hollow.Chinnock Hollow. (Image: Somerset Council)

Mr Patrick – whose Coker division includes the site – made his views clear in a recent letter to council chief executive Duncan Sharkey, which was published as part of his monthly newsletter.

He said: “While the proposed TRO would close the Hollow to all traffic, the long-term plan is to invest £2.7m to reinforce the slopes with steel wire, pins and drape mesh.

“However, £2.7m is a lot of money. The Conservative government in Westminster has cut local council funding by around 60 per cent in real terms.

“As a direct consequence of these cuts, I recognise that £2.7m will be difficult to find and that it’s unlikely that Chinnock Hollow will fully re-open in the near-future.”

All major capital projects being undertaken by the new council are currently being reviewed as part of its wider budget-setting process, in light of its precarious financial situation.

Mr Patrick said that implementing the TRO would prevent the road from ever being reopened once the economic situation improved and the funding became available.

He said: “People are concerned that the proposed TRO is a permanent closure, which signals the end of any interest in reopening it. That’s why I’m standing alongside residents in objecting to this TRO.

“I humbly urge the consideration of an interim solution, such as the one delivered at Dinah’s Hollow in Dorset in 2015 and the A29 in West Sussex earlier this year.

“These roads were safely reopened with reduced road width, temporary traffic lights and concrete barriers being installed to protect road users.

“I hope this provides some valuable local context and I hope that all local views are taken into consideration.”