Wiggly road markings that baffled drivers and enraged residents to be scrapped

North Somerset Council started work on the new road layout along The Beach in autumn 2022
North Somerset Council started work on the new road layout along The Beach in autumn 2022 - Tom Wren/SWNS

Wiggly road markings that were likened to a scene from the Wizard of Oz are set to be scrapped in a £1.5 million council blunder.

The weaving lines along the Victorian seafront of Clevedon, Somerset, designed to slow down traffic, were subject to widespread mockery from residents who accused officials of creating a “Balamory from hell”.

It prompted North Somerset Council to replace the lines with a coloured walkway along the promenade which locals said looked like “something out of the Wizard of Oz”, drawing comparisons with the yellow brick road.

Now, the controversial changes look set to be scrapped altogether, costing a further £375,000 and bringing the total bill of the saga to £1.5 million – despite an original budget of £201,000.

The scheme, introduced last autumn, brought in a 1,312ft segregated cycle lane along the 20mph seafront while the road was made one-way, but drivers and cyclists were left confused over where to go.

Town hall bosses drafted in transport design and engineering experts AECOM to conduct a review, which has now concluded and made 13 recommendations. It estimated these would cost £375,000.

Residents described the new road as a 'Balamory from hell'
Town hall bosses have sought a review of the road markings which may cost £375,000 to change - Tom Wren/SWNS

These included ripping out the two-way cycle lane, the removal of parallel parking on the promenade and installation of angled parking, and “improvements to the layout and arrangement of the mini roundabout” which was previously described as an “alien landing pad” by residents.

AECOM’s report said the wavy lines were “inspired by the marine surroundings” and aimed to “reduce dominance of the car” by making the road feel narrower.

But instead, it has led to “entrenched views” among the community, “genuine confusion” and “negative behaviours taking place from road users”, along with district nurses saying they have “had to drive around looking for a parking space”, it said.

‘Awful mess’

North Somerset Council will consider the findings at a meeting on Dec 6, ahead of potentially consulting locals on changes. The meeting is expected to be attended by 300 people, meaning tickets have been allocated.

Cllr Hannah Young, North Somerset Council’s executive member with responsibility for active travel, said: “We are reviewing the recommendations closely and will come forward quickly with proposals for the executive to consider.”

Residents previously rallied around to create the group Save Our Seafront, whose founder Cathy Hawkins said the markings were a “heartbreaking mess made of our once magnificent Victorian seafront”.

Clevedon residents were quick to take to social media to criticise the council after the latest furore.

One wrote: “Those councillors that rubber stamped this and completely ignored the residents should be named and made accountable, crazy...”

Another said: “After the awful mess, please bring it back to the original parking.”

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