POLITICIANS have had their say on the National Highways’ decision to put on hold plans to dual the A358 between Taunton and the Southfields Roundabout at Ilminster.

The announcement, which could also scrap plans for a bypass around Henlade, “has put people living here in limbo,” some residents said.

Ilminster Town Council said: “The A358 improvement Scheme is something that the town council would very much like to see happen.

“It has been supportive of the dualling scheme and the benefits that a well-designed project would bring to improving traffic flow in an area that is regularly subject to hold-ups and diversions.

“The town council has been working alongside the various parishes that are affected by the dualling scheme and whilst there are concerns over the current plans, they are not considered to be insurmountable.

“Whilst the submission of the Development Consent Order is not going ahead this year it is hoped that it will in the near future.

“We look forward to learning from National Highways in 2024 as to how the scheme will be implemented.”

Adam Dance Cllr for South Petherton & Islemoor said: “I am pleased that the dualling of the A358 between Taunton and Ilminster is being reconsidered, especially with the potential impact on local villages north of Ilminster.

“I agree with my Taunton colleague that Henlade desperately needs a bypass to reduce noise and pollution in the village.

“However, Government investment in Somerset should support coordinated and reliable public transport, (both bus and rail).

“This would be much more useful to Somerset residents than the Government's continuing focus on the motorists, at a cost to local communities, to the environment, and the countryside.”

Gideon Amos, the LibDem Parliamentary candidate for Taunton and Wellington, said the bypass for Henlade and Thornfalcon “should be the priority” and added that “there is no need to dual the road all the way to Ilminster”.

He also added: "Villages like Hatch Beauchamp and West Hatch are rightly concerned - if Government reneges on its bypass plans it will be a kick in the teeth for residents living on one of the worst polluted roads in the county”.

“But frankly there is no need to dual the road all the way to Ilminster with the environmental damage that would cause, so there’s a real opportunity to reduce the scheme’s impacts and save money.”

Taunton Dean MP Rebecca Pow said: "I know that many will be disappointed and concerned following the announcement that National Highways, with the support from Government, will not be submitting the Development Consent Order application for the A358 Taunton to Southfields Duelling Scheme planned this year with the continued uncertainty that this will cause.”

The Chard and Ilminster News has also contacted MP Marcus Fysh for comments.