A MAJOR upgrade to a sewage treatment facility near Taunton is going ahead despite unsuccessful efforts to build a relief road.

Wessex Water officials held a meeting with residents and councillors in Creech St Michael village hall last night (Wednesday) to say that their deadline for starting work at the facility, in Ham, had arrived.

The firm had hoped to settle concerns by building a road for construction vehicles to minimise the impact to surrounding villages but after years of liaising with landowners they have been unable to achieve that.

It is the second phase of work at the sewage treatment plant and is expected to take 15 months.

A Wessex Water spokesperson said: “We are investing around £21m to improve treat¬ment facilities so that they can cope with increased population, generate more renew¬able energy and meet tighter environmental requirements.”

The meeting took place after the County Gazette went to press but Ruishton and Thornfalcon parish council vice chairman Mike Marshall said he had hoped the meeting would bring some definitive answers about the road.

He added: “The best outcome would have been that they were going to start work on the road and at least finish it before the 15 months.

“There is going to be 150 traffic movements a week, some of which are big lorries and machinery, so the road would have helped alleviate traffic and it was what the residents wanted - we are disappointed.”

Wessex Water insisted that options to get the road built are still ongoing but that it has not been possible to finalise proposals before work starts.

They added: “We recognise the concerns of local people which is why we regularly meet with the parish councils to keep them fully up to date on our proposals and ask for sugges¬tions to minimise inconvenience.

“The work has to start so we have put pro¬posals in place to manage deliveries and traf¬fic movements, especially at peak hours, and using designated passing places.”