Transport bosses are silent over the future of a major road improvement scheme in Somerset following rumours of its cancellation.

National Highways (formerly Highways England) has been working for several years on a planned scheme to dual the A358 between the Southfields roundabout in Ilminster and junction 25 of the M5 in Taunton, holding numerous public consultations to gain residents’ input.

Reports have claimed that the scheme, yet to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, was being cancelled, with one local land agent alleging he had “been told to settle all claims.”

Neither National Highways nor the Department for Transport have provided any clarity on the situation.

The scheme, which is expected to cost £328m, will see new junctions created to link the dual carriageway with the A378 towards Langport along with the villages of Hatch Beauchamp and Ashill along the existing route.

National Highways’ most recent designs involve digging up the Nexus 25 roundabout – delivered as part of a £19.2m upgrade of junction 25 – and replace it with a signal-controlled crossroads.

National Highways stated in December 2023 that it would not submit a formal planning application – known as a development consent order (DCO) – to the Planning Inspectorate before the end of the year.

A spokesman said at the time: “National Highways, with the support from the government, will not be submitting the DCO application for the A358 Taunton to Southfields dualling scheme as planned this year and we are working with the government on the next steps.”