GOVERNMENT REJECTS WILTSHIRE COUNCIL'S PROPOSED EASTERN WESTBURY BY-PASS
The White Horse Alliance, of which Wiltshire CPRE is a major part, welcomed the Government decision to reject the proposed eastern Westbury bypass plan following the Inspectors' decision after a four month hearing. This is a victory for common sense and the determination of local people to defend one of the great landscapes of England. Nonetheless Wiltshire CPRE, who helped raise money to fund the challenge, have put forward with the WHA a viable alternative route to the west of Westbury.
The Secretary of the White Horse Alliance, Pat Kinnersly said:
"The inspectors agreed with our expert witnesses that this was a dud transport scheme on a route of no regional significance that should not be turned into a strategic highway from the M4 to the South coast ports.
They agreed with the hundreds of local people who have consistently opposed the council's plans for building a road through the magnificent landscape below the historic white horse hill figure on the western scarp of Salisbury Plain. They thought a road here would wreck the tranquillity of the Wellhead Valley and the damage would not be justified by the small gains for the town centre. They criticised the lack of transport integration.
We hope Wiltshire Council will now abandon its grandiose plans for a massive new road through West Wiltshire and the string of schemes that would have followed if they had got permission to build the Westbury bypass.
This means too that West Wiltshire will not have to accommodate all the extra trucks that would have been diverted down the A350 as an outer bypass for Bath. That deal with Bath And North East Somerset Council died today.
Wiltshire Council has spent £4m on the Westbury scheme so far but the government has just saved council taxpayers a further £4m that the council would have spent on completing the project.
It is time Wiltshire County Council moved into the 21st century and started to invest in the kind of transport we will need if we are to cope with fuel scarcity and prevent a climate crisis. We need to reduce traffic everywhere - including Westbury and the villages where this plan would have made it worse - not encourage it to grow."
The road would have been intrusive and visible for some miles as it would run along the scarp slope of the Salisbury Plain and past the Westbury White Horse. The road would have affected 13 species of bat, all of which have European protection, with four having the highest level of protection in Europe (Annexe 2 of the European Habitat Directive 1992). The bypass would also have affected dormice (which also have the highest level of protection in Europe), water voles, great crested newts, barn owls, badgers, and a number of British Trust for Ornithology red listed nesting birds. The number of species affected by the scheme is not surprising as the road would go through the tranquil Wellhead Valley on the western edge of Salisbury Plain, near two Sites of Special Scientific Interest and very close to other places known to be ecologically rich.
This is the oldest of Wiltshire's 12 white horse chalk hill figures.
An alternative route on the western side of Westbury could serve the trading estates and the railway station. Such a route would link with the proposed multi-modal railfreight terminal and provide better bus links across the area. This would provide a better solution to relieving a number of villages, as well as Westbury itself, from lorries. However a Western route has been dismissed by Wiltshire County Council on the grounds that it would be more expensive to construct and therefore less likely to obtain government funding.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Jenny Raggett (CPRE West Wiltshire)
01225 867 351
078255 42123 (mobile)
Pat Kinnersly (White Horse Alliance)
Laura Jansen (Senior Campaigner, CPRE)
020 7981 2833
Nicola S. Frank (Press Officer, CPRE)
020 7981 2880 (press office)
07739 332796 (mobile)
John Blake (Branch Secretary, Wiltshire CPRE)
01380 722157 (Branch office)
Or follow this link http://www.westbury-wilts-bypass.info/index.html
The Government’s proposals for planning reform will make it easier to build on the countryside without you having a proper say. Don't sit back and let this happen; take action today:
Read the planning inspectors' report (PDF, 295 pages), following the public inquiry in 2008.
Read the letter by the Secretary of State for Communities (PDF, 10 pages) accepting the inspectors' recommendation to reject the proposed road.
ROAD BUILDING IN WILTSHIRE
IS WELL OUT OF CONTROL
CPRE condemns the Wiltshire and Swindon Structure 2016 Plans for more than 25km of new roads as a disaster for the County’s rural landscapes.
Map of proposed bypasses:
There appears to be no respect for the County’s rural heritage’, says Rosemary Marx (former Chairman of West Wilts CPRE). ‘To suggest that these roads are part of sustainable development is plainly ridiculous’.
Along with these roads will come inevitable urban sprawl’, says Charmian Spickernell (Chair of Wiltshire CPRE Transport Campaign Group).
Wiltshire tops the list - No county has put forward more bypasses and diversions for government funding.
What goes with the roads? Commuters, urban sprawl, warehousing, more traffic, congestion, and pollution.
Who will pay for the roads? Council tax-payers have already paid many hundreds of thousands of pounds for preliminary work. Between now and 2006 over £4million more is to be spent on developing schemes.
Who will benefit? Landowners and developers. Any improvement in car journey times or relief from traffic will only be short term.
What are the alternatives? More and better public transport, particularly rail - an urban transit system for Swindon of guided buses or light rail is essential - grants for rail freight projects to help get big lorries off our roads - small and medium businesses in city centres - safer routes to school - lower speed limits - proper cycle lanes - local services and facilities close to where people live - grants for rail freight projects.
When will Wiltshire and Swindon follow the example of other counties i.e., give priority to alternatives and drop the dinosaur roads? When will their plans be sustainable both for now and for the future?
For Further Information
Charmian Spickernell - firstname.lastname@example.org - tel. 01672 562742
|CPRE, Wiltshire Branch,
Lansdowne House, Long Street, Devizes, Wiltshire, SN10 1NJ
Tel: 01380 722157 | Fax: 0870 831 0066 | Email: email@example.com
Web: www.cprewiltshire.org.uk National site: www.cpre.org.uk
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