A PUB landlady is preparing for her latest setback ahead of weeks of disruption on the main Minehead-Taunton road.

Jane Bishop faces her fourth major disruption in five years at the Farmers Arms, Combe Florey, when drainage work is carried out from Monday, April 25 on a flood-hit stretch of the A358.

It follows the closure of the same section for several weeks last year, while the Farmers Arms closed for two years while it was rebuilt following a fire in January 2017, only to suffer further closures during the Covid pandemic.

"We've had no contact from the council about this," said Ms Bishop, when contacted by the County Gazette. "They should come out and tell us what they're planning to do.

"All these road closures are damaging business.

"Last year they put a sign at Cross Keys saying, 'Road ahead closed'. That didn't help anyone because it didn't say where the closure was."

She added: "There are businesses all along the road, which is always busy with commuters, and tourists in the spring and summer.

"It'll put an extra 45 minutes on people's journey times.

"It feels like, 'Here we go again'."

The works near Yard Farm, with funding from Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA), follows last year’s emergency works after an embankment collapse due to flooding from a nearby stream and run-off water from a field.

Traffic signals will be in place between 9.30am and 3.30pm daily. A diversion will be in place during a full 24/7 closure between Monday and Thursday, May 9-12, followed by a further 15 days under traffic lights until Friday, May 27.

County Hall says the contractor, Milestone, has worked to ensure disruption and any road closure is kept to a minimum.

Somerset County Gazette:

David Carter, the council’s interim deputy director for economic and community infrastructure, said: “Since last year our highways team has been working closely with the local landowner and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group SouthWest to try and make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“As well as the drainage improvement works our team is carrying out, the FWAG SW has worked with the landowner on a new planting regime to reduce surface run-off and the landowner is installing attenuation ponds and swales in the field adjacent to the A358 to help ensure this stretch isn’t flooded in the future during similar events.

“We’re really grateful to the SRA for providing funding and to local residents and business for their support and understanding as we undertake these essential works.”

SRA Senior Manager David Mitchell added: “Flooding on this stretch of road is a regular problem and a major inconvenience for road users.

“A key factor is the surface water run-off from nearby steep fields, which has been filling the road’s drainage system with silt, then flooding the road.

"The SRA-funded work that Somerset Highways team is undertaking with the landowner and FWAG SW, alongside improvements to the road’s drainage, will make a huge difference."