HIGHWAYS England has backed down in a row over proposals to upgrade the A358 between the M5 at Taunton and A303 at Southfields, Ilminster.

The agency has announced plans to hold a supplementary consultation on proposals to upgrade the A358 between the M5 Taunton and A303 Southfields.

There was widespread anger that only one option was previously put before the public.

Now people will get the chance to comment on further options.

Following the close of the recent consultation, Highways England has analysed feedback, listened to comments made and decided to gain further public opinion on its proposals for the A358 between the M5 at Taunton and West Hatch Lane.

A supplementary six-week public consultation will be held in the autumn, and dates for the public exhibition events will be announced shortly.

Project manager David Stock said: “We have listened to all the feedback received from the initial consultation and we feel that more work is needed to find the best option for the section of the scheme between West Hatch and the M5.

“Details of the proposals to be consulted on will be made available when we launch the consultation, and we again invite everybody to come along to the events and have their say.”

The A358 is currently a mix of single and dual carriageway, carrying more vehicles than it was designed for, which leads to delays.

The plan is to improve the route to a dual carriageway as well as improved connectivity and access for local communities and vulnerable road users such as cyclists, equestrians and pedestrians.

Mike Baddeley, chairman of Stoke St Mary Parish Council welcomed the news.

He said: "I was delighted to be informed yesterday that Highways England Ltd have listened to the one voice of ourselves, the parishes of West Hatch, Trull, the unparished area of Killams and Mountfields, Taunton Deane B.C. Somerset CC, Rebecca Pow MP and many, many others who rejected the proposed route consulted upon from March to July this year.

"All we ever wanted was an open and meaningful discussion about the future of our town and surrounding countryside and we are pleased that Highways England Ltd have listened and agreed to reconsider their plans for the A358.

"We look forward to the next round of consultations, which we are sure will bring forth a scheme that works for all parties concerned."