The head of policy for car insurance and breakdown cover provider the RAC has declared it is "good to see common sense has prevailed" after an independent review recommended a "bizarre" seafront road layout, with a cycle lane and eye-catching wiggly lines, should be reversed and car parking restored.
Commenting to GB News, Simon Williams said common sense had "prevailed over the bizarre Clevedon seafront road scheme" and that "locals will now be celebrating that more people will be able to park and enjoy looking at the seas and the historic pier as well as visiting hospitality businesses".
Last week, North Somerset Council's leader apologised to residents over the £1.3 million redesign, which a campaign group named Save Our Seafront branded a "Mickey Mouse" layout that had made the town the "laughing stock of the nation" and "Balamory from hell".
A series of protests followed, including a seafront conga line and parking "flash mob" to block the cycle lane, and led to the council ordering an independent review, which has now recommended the two-way cycle lane be removed and sea-facing parking restored.
"Many will also be thinking how so much tax-payers money could have been spent on such a simple scheme, let alone one which turned out to be so deeply unpopular," Mr Williams continued.
"There are also surely questions to be answered as to how this was ever classed as an 'active travel' scheme considering how short the cycle lane is. For this reason, we struggle to see how this would ever help to get people out of their cars, which was one of the stated aims of the project."
Last week, council leader Mike Bell said it was a "big mistake" and the local authority had "got it wrong". He also committed to removing the infrastructure at an estimated further cost of £375,000.
"We'll have to try to find the money — it's not going to be easy, but we will try to do that," he said. "The big mistake was that we implemented a scheme that wasn't supported by the community and I'm really sorry that happened.
"We didn't get the consultation and engagement right, it took place during the Covid pandemic and, as a result, we've delivered a scheme that didn't work for people. We're under immense financial pressure, as are all councils. I would not wish to be in this position if we could have avoided it.
"But the right thing to do is to try to deliver some changes and deliver a scheme that works for the people of Clevedon and that's what we're going to try to do."
The comments marked the end of an 11-month period of protests and campaigning following the unveiling of the new layout in January, pictures of the "wiggly line" design appearing across the media and social media.
While a public consultation found that 50 per cent of locals supported the plans, compared to 42 per cent who opposed the scheme, since the initiative was announced 'Save Our Seafront' has led a high-profile campaign against the redevelopment and penned a petition to the council which attracted over 6,000 signatures.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.