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

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.

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  • Of course you will get a big majority of the attendees voting for the road to be opened as the majority of them went to the meeting because they want it open, that’s why they went whereas people who had no interest in it being opened didn’t go so its a totally biased result, you need to canvass all residents of not only Chinnock but Odcombe too as the road affects them.

    Trying to use the excuse of how do emergency vehicles get around, well they have action plans in place for this and why didn’t they do the 6 week closure in Coker while the A30 is already shut at Haselbury?? Chinnock hollow is not a suitable road for a main diversion to get around a closure in Coker.

    Chinnock Hollow is totally unsuitable for the level of traffic it was carrying, we regularly had vehicles way too big using it, such as hgv’s & buses/coaches, it put alot of unnecessary traffic through the narrow roads of Odcombe and caused regular accidents at its crossroads with camp & old road, at rush hour times it carries a constant stream of traffic, people seem to use it as an A road to Yeovil and not the unclassified rural back road to the next village that its designed for.

  • if the people who don’t wish to to have the Hollow re opend can’t be bothed to attend a meeting or write phone or Email their feelings to the local councillors , tough dont complain about people who can be botherd to have their opinion noted ..

  • Old Boy is entirely accurate in what he says.
    In fact the people who want it opened , and have been the most vocal, are generally commuters from the Crewkerne direction or those in West Coker who in fact are living on an A road and so therefore must expect some traffic through the village. The Hollow is entirely unsuitable for the amount, size and speed of the traffic, that until the closure, was passing through. The residents have been trying for well over a decade to do something about it. This has included involving police, speedwatches, local and district councillors and highways. Lobbying to reduce speed limit etc.There have been many traffic accidents/ incidents most of which have been unreported.
    Interestingly there was a recent survey of traffic done in East Chinnock and it showed that the volume of traffic proceeding along the A30 has actually decreased since this closure so maybe there is a beneficial knock on effect for West Coker. This data was obtained from a Speed Indication device trialled on behalf of the Parish Council by the Somerset Constabulary.

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