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End of road for Westbury bypass plan
Updated 11:29am Thursday 24th April 2014 in Trowbridge
Members of Campaign for a Better Trowbridge said they are delighted that the saved eastern Westbury bypass policy has been removed in proposed modifications to the Wiltshire Core Strategy.
The core strategy, which has been developed with communities over the last five years, was scrutinised at public hearing sessions last summer as part of its examination by an independent government inspector.
As a result, the inspector has put forward modifications to some aspects of the plan, including the replacement of the saved eastern Westbury bypass policy with a more general CP66 policy, which covers strategic road, rail and bus.
The former £31m bypass scheme was initially thrown out by the Government in July 2009, as it claimed both traffic and accident levels were not high enough.
The proposal, which took a decade to put together, proved highly controversial, with many people objecting to the road passing east of the town through the picturesque Wellhead Valley.
Ken McCall, from Campaign for a Better Trowbridge, said: “We are delighted that the Planning Inspectorate has understood that safeguarding the route of a major road, which has already been kicked out after a detailed and lengthy planning inquiry, is lunacy.
“Our council wasted approximately £5million of local money on the eastern Westbury Bypass and they didn’t appeal against the decision of the Secretary of Sate to reject it. Sneaking the same route in the Core Strategy via a back door was neither fair nor right, but luckily Wiltshire Council has been told to make amends.”
The Westbury bypass plans were revived when the council published its core strategy, which sets out the sites and scales for new roads, wind turbines, housing developments and industrial estates between now and 2026.
The bypass was included, sparking a campaign from the original bypass protestors when the plans were scrutinised by the independent inspector.
Campaign for Better Trowbridge have argued at the Trowbridge Area Board that if a bypass for Westbury is ever built, the people of Trowbridge need to be part of the discussion.
They say this is because a road on the industrial side of Westbury, between Trowbridge and Westbury, would take lorries out of the Trowbridge suburbs and villages, as well as Westbury.
This was highlighted in the inspector's report in 2009, which said that a route to the west had economic benefits for a wider area than one to the east. It was also highlighted that the landscape of the White Horse area should be preserved.
A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “The Inspector has proposed a modification to remove this saved policy as he considers it should be replaced with Core Policy 66 – Strategic Transport Network, which refers to A350 Corridor and the need to maintain, manage and selectively improve it to support growth at Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge, Westbury and Warminster.”
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