A major scheme to improve Glastonbury’s main roads could be scrapped due a a lack of “community and political support”.

Somerset County Council submitted plans to the government in July 2019 for a major road improvement scheme for the A39 and A361 through Glastonbury and Pilton.

The scheme, which was set to cost between £40M and £70M, was designed to relieve pinch points on one of the busiest freight routes in the county – as well as a major route to the Glastonbury Festival.

But the council has now proposed withdrawing the scheme because it cannot promise the government that enough local people will be in favour of it.

Mike O’Dowd-Jones, the council’s strategic commissioning manager for highways and transport, laid out the council’s reasoning in a report published on its official website.

He said: “The Department for Transport (DfT) has asked for confirmation of local community and political support for each of the submitted schemes.

“We believe that this scheme will require widespread local community and political support to be deliverable.

“To avoid any ambiguity about the status of the scheme, it is recommended that the scheme is withdrawn from further consideration.”

The council submitted its initial business case to the DfT in late-July last year, with further information being supplied in November.

In January the department asked for the council to provide evidence that this scheme had widespread support within the local community – something the local authority said it was unable to demonstrate.

Mr O’Dowd-Jones said: “Following recent feedback received, we were unable to confirm that there is widespread support for a scheme at these pinch points.

“We consider that it is highly unlikely that the scheme can realistically progress any further or be deliverable without a high level of community and political support.

“Rather than leave any uncertainty or ambiguity about the situation, it is recommended that the proposals are formally withdrawn.

“We would wish to avoid a situation where any community, individual or business interest is adversely affected due to uncertainty about whether there will be a scheme and what the potential route alignments may be.”

Mendip District Council shared initial, indicative proposals for a bypass around Pilton “in the spirit of transparency and in good faith” after the initial proposals were submitted in July.

This came in for criticism in November, with Pilton residents arguing it would be “highly damaging” to their way of life.

The Glastonbury scheme was one of two Somerset schemes submitted to the DfT – the other being a new bypass around the villages of Ashcott on the A39.

Mr O’Dowd-Jones said work on this latter scheme would continue – and that money which had been spent working on the Glastonbury scheme would not be totally wasted.

He said: “We have spent approximately £75,000 on the business case for the Glastonbury scheme to date, and have now stopped any further work to progress the scheme.

“Much of this work involved activity to create traffic models which can also be used on the proposed Walton/ Ashcott scheme, so much of this expenditure has not been abortive.”