A PROPOSED new relief road on the A350 between Yarnbrook and West Ashton has sparked controversy, after the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust said it was not consulted, despite the road going through its woods.

Wiltshire Council is looking to build the road to reduce the amount of traffic on the A350 and to limit the number of accidents, according to a report compiled by developer Atkins, which was commissioned by the council.

The trust said it only became aware of the plans, which would go through the centre of Biss Wood and part of Green Lane Wood, days ago and it is seeking clarification from the council.

A spokesman for the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust said: “We were alerted to proposals to build a relief road through Biss Wood and Green Lane Wood Nature reserves by a member of the public.

“The proposal is detailed in a report prepared by Atkins on behalf of Wiltshire Council.

“The trust has written to Wiltshire Council objecting to this proposal in the strongest possible terms, seeking urgent clarification and reassurance that Wiltshire Council is not supporting and promoting the development of the relief road directly through Biss Wood and Green Lane Wood nature reserves.

“We will wait to hear from Wiltshire Council before we make any further comment.”

However a second set of plans from PFA Consulting, commissioned by developers of the the Ashton Park Urban Extension, shows a relief road that does not go through either wood.

Many residents living on the A350 are in support of a relief road, saying that the road as it stands is not coping with the level of traffic using it.

Peter Hughes, who lives on Kettle Lane, West Ashton, off the A350, said: “I’m very strongly in favour of a new road, I think at the minute the road is inadequate for the volume of traffic that uses it and if there are further developments in Westbury it is only going to get worse.

“Things have got even worse since they did the development at the crossroads. It’s great for people using the road but for us trying to get out of our homes and across the road it is very difficult.”

His neighbour Raymond Humphries is also in favour of a road and said: “When I first moved here 46 years ago there was a leaflet that said there was going to be a new road, so why will this one be accepted?

“I’m certainly in favour of this road as at the minute it’s terrible for congestion. On Friday morning from 7am all the way until 7pm there will be endless traffic.”

Westbury group The White Horse Alliance fears that any road which goes through the woods will affect wildlife, most notably the rare Bechstein’s bat.

Secretary Patrick Kinnersly said: “It’s not necessary and would be an incredibly destructive development to one of the last wildlife sites in west Wiltshire which houses rare pockets of bats, protected by European law.“We are concerned about what we see as cavalier and outrageous plans and if they can build here, they can build anywhere.”

A spokesman for Wiltshire Council said: “The plans that will go to the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Transport body on April 21 are not the plans that go through either Biss Wood or Green Lane Wood. The plans that will be put forward are the ones done by PFA Consulting.”