Last Chance to See

Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry in Last Chance to See. BBC

Whoa! We skiied a little off piste with that last post. Please to forgive. It’s just that I’ve been doing more campaigning than blogging in recent weeks and wanted somewhere to put the results. God knows if we’ll make the local media.

Meanwhile, back on TV, can I just say how much I’m enjoying The Last Chance to See at 8pm on BBC 2 on Sundays? Of course, it features the sweet, the lovely, the langorous and cuddly Stephen Fry. Although even he is a bit much, as he coos over every furry, rapidly disappearing species on the planet including some with shells. Baby turtles. I mean, yes, sweet – just. But, basically, little terrapin things stuggling through the sand. Much more interesting was how they swapped from alternating flipper action on sand to auto-swim mode the minute they were weightless in water.

Anyway. Last Chance to See. Apart from being on a tad early at 8pm it’s really very good. And it continues that toast n slippers tradition of ever-so slightly washed up comedians presenting comfy Sunday night series on unthreatening subjects such as rivers, boats, the Abroad. More please. Dawn French on the history of farming? I’d watch.

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A little local difficulty

Traffic sign


Crewkerne residents think congestion, heavy goods vehicles and speeding are major problems in the town and most don’t feel safewalking around because of the traffic, according to a new survey.

Most people say traffic is also hitting trade in the town and that businesses would benefit if the situation were improved. Traders themselves say the traffic is bad for business and more people would stop and shop in Crewkerne if it improved.

The findings come from an independent survey conducted by a group of volunteers in Crewkerne in a bid to highlight the need to improve thetown’s critical traffic problem.

The survey shows feelings about traffic in Crewkerne run extremely high, with 99% of those questioned saying traffic is a real issue. New traffic management plans, including a one-way system and a 20mph zone, will be discussed at a meeting at the Henhayes Centre in Crewkerne, at 7.00pm on Wednesday 7 October.

Cycling in Crewkerne also gets the thumbs down with 90% of those questioned saying they don’t feel safe cycling in the town. This is in stark contrast to the sentiment expressed by Crewkerne mayor, Councillor Hilary Leamon when the Tour of Britain Cycle Racecame through Crewkerne on 18 September. She said the tour was “a veryexciting way of promoting healthy living”.

Lucy Rouse, one of the volunteers who conducted the survey, says: “Our survey shows that traffic in our town is a serious obstacle to healthy living. While almost everyone walks to the shops, most people don’t feel safe walking at least some of the time. And very few people feel safe cycling. Traffic is also damaging our local economy and the historic buildings in the town.

“This survey shows how strongly local people feel about traffic problems. We would like to see as many people as possible at the meeting on 7 October to talk about traffic management plans. Something has to be done soon.”

In the survey more than 280 people commented on their own experiences of traffic in Crewkerne and on what they would like to see happen inthe future. A number of people admitted to having been hit by wingmirrors on narrow pavements. Other comments highlighted speeding, difficulty in crossing roads, parking, congestion and HGVs as problems regularly encountered in thetown.

One respondent summed up the situation by saying: “A bypass would be ideal but a complete one-way system with speed control wouldbe a start.”

The survey drew 347 responses. When asked to highlight the three most important traffic problems, 74% said congestion, 70% said HGVs and 56% said speed was an issue. Half of those surveyed said pedestrian safety was a major issue. 38% said parking was an issue and 12% highlighted the ability (or inability) to cycle in Crewkerne as a concern.

More than half of the survey, 53%, said they had children but they didn’t walk to school. 92% said they walk to the shops but 56% said they don’t feel safe walking in Crewkerne. 79% of people agree businesses would benefit if traffic improved. 76% of businesses said traffic had a detrimental effect on their business and 88.5% of traders said more people would stop and shop if traffic improved.

The survey was conducted door to door in East Street, North Street, South Street and West Street in Crewkerne and from a town centre stallover a two-week period in September. 500 surveys were distributed andthere were 347 responses.

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