The Melksham Bypass

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Please also take a look at this site https://a350bypass.com/

and the 'Stop the Melksham Bypass' Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2523932241180557/

 

If you have any feedback, see any glaring errors, or have anything relevant to add to this page then use the email below

owen.burton2012@gmail.com

Current as of November 26th 2021

Current as of December 2nd 2021

Wiltshire Council cabinet have at last released the results of the July/August consultation. Cabinet have decided (as expected) to move forward with the 10c option. The consultation results however revealed some strong opposition to the route proposed running close to Redstocks and around the back of the Bowerhill residential estate. The report  indicates that there could be room for alternatives to be considered as the process moves on and two more non-statutory are being proposed.

Or to take an extract from the report

" From the consultation it is clear that there are opposing views about the need for a
bypass. However, it does appear that the emerging route, or a variation of it, could
provide a suitable route for the scheme should it proceed to the next stage."

 

New development

At the Cabinet Meeting of Tuesday 30 November it was agreed to proceed with proposals for the A350 Melksham bypass.

(HOWEVER;-)

It also agreed to change the way forward for the scheme, after considering the responses from local councils, community groups and the public to the second consultation on the scheme, held between 23 June and 8 August.

read in full here

https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/news/cabinet-agrees-to-make-changes-to-a350-melksham-bypass-project-based-on-community-feedback

 

 

Links to Report : Report on July-August 2021 consultation.pdf

 

Map below is a big download so be patient!

 

November 2021 map of proposed route and possible variations.pdf

 

 

As you would expect there are a wide range of diverse opinions in the responses to all the options. What is interesting are the noticeably reduced number of responses supporting the proposal as opposed to the first consultation and the marked increase against any bypass but encouraging improvement of the existing road come high up the list. There are a good number of people looking for improvements in rail, bus and walking/cycling facilities both with or without it relying on a bypass being built

Anyway, have a read yourselves and make your own mind up.

 

 

Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Cabinet Member for Highways, said:

This Cabinet decision marks the next step towards a bypass for Melksham that, if approved by the Department for Transport (DfT), would create more reliable journeys and less congestion on the A350, improve safety and reduce emissions, and support economic growth in the area.

It's really important that people get involved in the second consultation, which we'll launch at Melksham Area Board on Wednesday 23 June, as it will help to shape the Outline Business Case that we'll present to DfT.

DfT will then review the Outline Business Case against its criteria and ensure the views of the local community have been properly considered, before deciding whether to proceed with the scheme.

The first consultation was held predominantly online due to COVID restrictions, but as long as the Government's roadmap out of lockdown continues to progress, we hope to hold both in-person and online events for this consultation, so that as many people as possible have the opportunity to have their say. We'll also put displays in Melksham Library so that people can come and find out more about the proposals.

We'll be releasing more details soon on how people can have their say on the proposals ahead of the consultation launch at Melksham Area Board. (note: haven't seen anything about this anywhere else)

 

 

WC continually points out that the 10C route is not yet fully defined, so the description here is only general but by the very nature of the terrain must be within reasonable limits.

 

 

1.     The information below is based on the original maps supplied by WC back in November 20. See updated route options page link above

2.     At the Beanacre end the bypass will make an almost 90 degree exit east off the  A350 via new roundabout just north of Halfway Farm, at a point where the River Avon meanders closest to the A350. Almost immediately it will have to bridge the River Avon. (Interesting reading here regarding the River Avon) and (here)      

3.     After the River Avon bridge it runs almost straight for a while, running very close to Queenfield Farm before curving slightly to eventually cross Lower Woodrow Road about halfway between New Road and Frogditch.

4.     A new roundabout is proposed here (see chart further down) A quiet road turning into a busy and noisy one.

5.     Wilts and Berks canal route - see above. Wilts and Berks canal maps

6.     It then continues close to Oakley Farm and crossing the A3102 Sandridge Road somewhere between Blackmore Farm and Sandridge Park. A new roundabout here too. Another quiet road turned busy as it will doubtless become the preferred route into Melksham town centre, by going past the King George V park and into Lowbourne.

7.     It then continues south, passing the solar farm on the side of Sandridge Hill, curving round towards Snarlton Farm, with Redstocks Lane off to the east and crossing the A365 Melksham/Devizes road between Melksham Oak school and Turnpike Garage. Roundabout here too. (Traffic here will be dramatically increased as it will become the preferred route to Melksham south/Bowerhill etc - lots of HGV and van movement here right past the school).

8.     It then crosses the A365, then skirting pretty close around the eastern edge of Bowerhill estate before curving westwards close to the K&A canal, passing narrowly between Giles Wood and the southern part of Bowerhill estate. (another quiet area destroyed )

10. It then joins the Portal Way (A350) about midway between the Police station roundabout and the existing canal aqueduct. Yet another roundabout! 15. What has not to been mentioned is what happens then? Portal Way from the Melksham end can be dualled but going towards Yarnbrook brings us back to a single carriageway for several miles. Ask yourself ( or better, ask the council) what happens then?

 

 

 

    Below taken from A350 Melksham Bypass S.O.B. C. July 2019  (PDF) Interesting point at section 2.6

    Following completion of the Strategic Outline Business Case in 2017, a document outlining the next steps required was produced in May 2018, setting out the how the proposed A350 Melksham Bypass scheme could be progressed  in a stepwise manner with limited financial commitment. The five steps were:        

1. High level optioneering of the Eastern Bypass route options (no mention of any western options here)

2. Stakeholder engagement / public consultation

3. Route options assessment - following the public consultation, further development and assessment of bypass route options would enable the existing options to be refined, and better performing options to be identified

4. Option review and stakeholder engagement / public consultation to enable further short listing of options

5. Business case updates to support funding bids for scheme development

 

Aims are to reduce the volume of traffic, including HGVs, passing along the current A350 route in northern Melksham and Beanacre to reduce severance, whilst avoiding negative impacts on other existing or potential residential areas.  (HOW?)

Provide enhanced opportunities for walking and cycling between Melksham town centre and the rail station / Bath Road, and along the existing A350 corridor within Melksham and Beanacre, which help reduce the impact of transport on the environment and support local economic activity. (This is the 'Severance' aspect contained in the consultation information pack)

I seriously question this 'severance' claim as we already have a perfectly good pedestrian and cycle underpass to the railway station with good and easy access from the town, designed originally I believe for Melksham children to access the George Ward school. I use it regularly on my cycling routes - no need for any 'upgrade' here, just some regular maintenance please.

Honestly, just how many extra people are going to cycle or walk to the railway station for the daily commute?

For cycle/walking access to the railway station from the new housing at Bowerhill and associated areas, the council should be linking up existing shared paths through Bowerhill, Snowberry Lane, widening existing footpaths alongside the A350 and connecting them to the quiet estate roads such as Campion Drive, Conway Crescent, Hornbeam Crescent, Speedwell, upgrade the footpath adjacent to Melksham Cemetery, then across the Avon via a new small bridge (or maybe the existing bridge if widened for dualling) and it's only a short hop to the Farmers roundabout, Asda. The stretch of A350 from the underpass near Asda to Dunch Lane already has a shared footway (could do with some attention) and from Dunch Lane to Beanacre there is already a footpath (little used and often overgrown) and a very wide verge - easily upgraded to a shared path as far as Westlands Lane.

Surely this should be covered by CIL payments received from the developments at Bowerhill. As an example, the Hilperton bypass adjacent cycle route - it works well there by interconnecting with several footpaths and shared paths from both Hilperton and Trowbridge via various quiet estate roads.

Creating new cycleways is of course good news, but maintaining existing ones is also important and often at the bottom of the list. CIL money should be used to support current infrastructure, not subsidise the Wiltshire Council contribution to a new bypass).

 

New guidance from the Government regarding the funding of new pedestrian cycle routes makes things a bit more complex as they will only now fund new routes if the comply with strict conditions. Basically, the great majority of all new cycle routes must now be segregated from both traffic and pedestrians. They must also be continuous and direct, ie directly from one place to another with no breaks. There are many other conditions and if you are interested then read the guidance LTN 1/20 available here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycle-infrastructure-design-ltn-120