WEST Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger was meeting Somerset Council officials this week to try to speed up of repair work on an important Exmoor road.

The council is planning to close the B3224 between Exford and Wheddon Cross for four months from January until early May while it repairs a collapsed roadside embankment.

Parish councillors and local traders have condemned the closure as overlong and say there will inevitably be a major impact on local businesses and tourism.

But the council has insisted the scheme cannot be delivered any more rapidly.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said he intended to challenge the council’s assertion.

He said: “I not only get the feeling that the attitude in County Hall is one of ‘well it’s only Exmoor’, but I cannot believe if a similar scheme had to be undertaken anywhere else in the county that ways and means would not be found to speed things up.

“This may only be a B road but it is a vital route across the moor which is used regularly by thousands of people and while the council may have provided ‘alternative’ routes I doubt whether many officials have travelled them to see how torturous they are.

“They are also, in the event of bad weather this winter, liable to be severed because they run across high ground, so leaving Exford totally cut off.

“Even at this relatively late stage I hope the council can be persuaded to take another look at these pretty catastrophic timings.”