Chinnock Hollow – Part 3
The long running saga of the road closure at Chinnock Hollow continues. The road, just off the A30 in the village of East Chinnock has been closed for over a year. That followed a land slip on 25 February 2021.
The road needed to be surveyed to check the state of the road, the debris and the banks around. Unfortunately nothing was done about it until October. Then there were delays in getting results back to the Highways team at County Hall.
A planned public meeting then had to be cancelled because of the arrival of Storm Eunice of the same day.
Finally the meeting went ahead earlier this week. The issue is clearly keenly felt locally, 60 residents attended the public meeting. An hour-long debate was chaired by Cllr Mike Hewitson who said, “It was a pleasure to meet local residents at our public meeting. We had a very respectful discussion, with some wanting the road to remain shut and others wanting the road open again. Everyone had the opportunity to speak and air their views, and I hope everyone left understanding the views of others in the community.“
The three local councillors who organised the meeting were Cllrs, Oliver, Hewitson and Clarke. They felt the overriding view from the residents who attended is that the hollow is a crucial local road. It needs to be reopened as soon as possible. When put to a vote, 92% of those in the room wanted it cleared and opened.
There was unanimous concern about emergency vehicle access into East Chinnock. Especially during the scheduled 6-week closure of the A30 through West Coker this summer. “How are ambulances going to get to East Chinnock if West Coker and Chinnock Hollow are both closed?” asked one exasperated attendee. “The 6-week closure of the A30 through West Coker must be cancelled until Chinnock Hollow is sorted.”
Now that a report into the land slip has finally been prepared by consultants WSL it doesn’t look as if an answer is coming soon.
The results of the testing revealed that there is a substantial risk of another landslide. Potentially even larger, in the same area of the Hollow. Engineers also spotted further areas of instability at different points along the road. SCC now say they will need to carry out further in-depth assessments to understand the hazards involved.
Options to make the immediate area around the landslide safe and reopen the road are outlined in the report. Including a £200k scheme to secure a section of the slope. You can read the report here https://leveller.live/2022/03/18/chinnock-hollow-update/
However Cllr Oliver Patrick believes it is not good enough. He told Leveller Live Cllr Oliver Patrick said “In my opinion the report is very light touch, stating more than once that they didn’t have much time to inspect the site. It also fails to take into account the opinions of locals. They didn’t even ask residents for input but were quite happy to state in their report that ‘Chinnock Hollow is not a major thoroughfare, and […] its closure is not anticipated to have an impact on the wider highway network.’ I’m afraid this report is completely out of touch with reality.”
However in the meantime there is little that can be done. The three councillors undertook to lobby county Highways to take action quickly. Watch this space.
Don’t forget to catch up on news between issues of The Leveller you can now take a free subscription with Leveller Confidential. To sign up follow the link: https://levellerconfidential.substack.com/