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Park and Ride debate for the Cheddar Gorge.

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Introduction

After watching a video discussing the Park and Ride debate issues, we held our own debate in class to find out how different groups of people might react to a Park and Ride being built in the top part of the Cheddar Gorge. There are a number of groups of people who would be in favour of this scheme including the relatives of accident victims, The National Trust, The Park and Ride employees, and the local Climbers. There are also a number of groups of people who would not be in favour of a Park and Ride scheme including The Longleat Estate, the local shop owners, local residents and, to a degree, The Somerset County Council. The group with probably the most potent views towards a Park and Ride project are the families of the accident victims. These families have lost people or suffered injury due to the falling rocks from the gorge. So far there have been 3 deaths in the gorge in recent years and numerous injuries from falling rocks. The latest death was that of a young Geology graduate 22 years old called Philip Robinson, there was a death 8 years before that and another, 30 years before. ...read more.

Middle

This clearance of shrubs also helps to restore the gorge to its former state. In my questionnaire survey I found that 9 out of 10 people will visit the gorge so it is imperative that the gorge is made as safe as possible for visitors, as soon as possible, and to protect the gorge from blasting because of these visitors The National Trust believes that closing down the gorge to all through traffic and providing a Park and Ride service is a suitable course of action. The climbers in the gorge also have some poignant views on the subject. They as climbers are aware of the dangers in the gorge from falling rocks and as such have restricted their climbing to the winter months when there are few visitors so that if they dislodge any rocks there is a low chance of hitting anyone. In the West Eye View video they believe that car access should be restricted to help prevent accidents and that the natural erosion of the cliffs is accelerated by the cliff clearance, thereby reducing the life of the cliffs. The Park and Ride employees have some important views on the subject also. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another group with strong views against the proposal are the Local Residents. The local residents will be seriously inconvenienced by the closure of the road through the gorge and will have to take alternate routes around. These routes will add time to journeys and cost more money in petrol. Normally from the M5 junction 22 get on A38 to Axebridge then A371 to Cheddar, this is a 12km journey (see map). But if the B3135 is closed you have to travel either further along the A38 or the A371. You can travel North to Churchill, a very difficult route (the western route), or travel on the A371 to Wells then north on the A39 then along the B3135 (Eastern route). In addition all the roads along the A371 through the Mendip hills I found out were not suitable for the traffic using an OS map because they are all very steep and they are all lanes. From Cheddar to Wells to Green Ore is 15km whereas direct from Cheddar to Green Ore via the B3135 is only 10km, an increase of 5km. Another group with an argument against the proposal are the local shopkeepers. The shopkeepers rely on passing trade to keep their businesses afloat and believe that if the parking close to the town at the cliff base will "kill trade stone dead" (West Eye View video). ...read more.

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