Government Cycling and Walking Policy
Please also take a look at this site
and the 'Stop the Melksham Bypass' Facebook page
Current as of March 16th 2021
If you have any feedback, see any glaring errors, or have anything relevant to
add to this page then use the email below
This is an ongoing work -
updated regularly - any new information will be put in this page
Whilst I cannot remain neutral on the subject, the object of these pages is to
give everyone the chance to be fully informed, not with just what WC puts out
Personally I am against any new bypass, feeling there is a awful lot that could
be done to improve the existing area around Farmers roundabout, Asda, Bath Road
lights and the Aldi-Leekes area. WC do mention it in the blurb but so far I can
see no strong evidence that it has been REALLY seriously considered.
A fast, wide, up to 7 mile long bypass over virgin countryside costing up to
£132 million (at today's costing) for just a few minutes saving seems desecration
of our lovely land. Something else to think about:-
Joint venture company Northacre Renewable
Energy, owned by the Hills Group and the Bioenergy Infrastructure Group, was
last year given permission by Wiltshire Council for an advanced thermal
treatment plant on the Northacre Industrial Estate in Westbury. Now they want to
abandon the hi-tech technology to use the standard moving grate combustion
method, and have submitted another planning application to the council. The
company is also applying to the Environment Agency for an operating permit.
Public consultation on the permit application ends on January 22. Should this
all go ahead, guess which road will be used for transporting all the rubbish to
Westbury? The A350 will have even more HGV traffic - so what have WC in mind I
wonder when they give us an option in the November response of 'HGV
restrictions'? Read more here
Westbury Incinerator project
Abbreviations often used in this context
MRN = Major Road Network (ie. A350). DfT= Department for Transport. HIF=
Housing Infrastructure Fund. STB= Sub-national Transport Bodies. (regional
bodies) WGSSTB= Western Gateway Shadow Sub-National Transport Body (Wilts
Council is only one part of this body). OBC= Outline Business Case (for
government funding). LLM= Large Local Major Road (ie. the A350). CIL = Community
Infrastructure Levy. WC = Wiltshire Council
The first consultation on the subject is over but you can email
the council with your views.
There’s plenty more information in the other links below so I will just keep the
explanations simple on this one.
Read this first -
Housing supply in Wiltshire
So, what exactly is this all about?
The Bypass consultation
period is now over and WC have collated all the responses which are available to
read online here:
I have also downloaded the
relevant documents here:A350_Melksham_Bypass_Public_consultation_report_FINAL.pdf
The Wiltshire Local Plan
review consultation is now over and this is the latest from Wiltshire
Council on the subject
Planning for Melksham
WC Wiltshire Local Plan Review recently presented to WC Cabinet
Map of potential development land
from above document. Very light blue = land considered
And definitely read this one!
Melksham Site Selection Report
See numbers of houses planned here - Melksham is in the North and West HMA.
Development plans in YOUR area ;-
All the above documents can be found here
Google Drive open link
And this makes interesting viewing
land available for development 2017
Melksham is included in the
Chippenham Housing Area,
so unfulfilled housing allocations for Chippenham can be added to Melksham for
In recent times Chippenham house building has not lived up to WC anticipations
but Melksham has done better than expected.
A shortage of brownfield sites to fulfill the housing quota means WC need to
look for greenfield sites that can be squeezed for housing.
A more recent Settlement Boundary Review established the current outline of
large villages, Market Towns and Larger Towns, land outside of which is
designated 'countryside'. Development outside of the Settlement Boundary is not
as easily done as within the Boundary - subject to certain provisions.
Wiltshire Council, having established likely development land via their own
sub-departments then needs to 'open' the land to development. Making a case for
a bypass around a settlement is one way, and then the land between it and the
settlement is more likely to become eligible for development.
This process is currently on-going at Hilperton where,
having built the Hilperton Bypass (Elizabeth Way) WC
later allocated the land the west side of it for housing development. This is exactly
what will happen around Melksham.
If you think it will not,
then just look at this. The Hilperton Bypass (relief road) was sold as a great thing
for Hilperton village back in 2016, it worked well for Hilperton by moving both
local and through traffic onto a bright new bypass. Back then proposed
housing on the west side was met with strong local opposition and was
shelved. However, In the
Wiltshire Housing Sites Allocation Plan
adopted Feb 2020 WC quietly included all this land
for housing. This was done legally but quietly. Now the land on the western side of the bypass (Elizabeth way) is on the way
to having up to 400 houses on it. Object you may, but this land was allocated by
WC and it will do no good. I wouldn't mind laying a bet that after these houses
are built the eastern side is being eyed up by WC!
See this map of Hilperton Bypass house building.
Establishing the 'need' for the Melksham Bypass has been on course for a number
of years, but the recent efforts started in 2017.
By building a case against the current A350 route, such as traffic delays, poor
accident record, severance of things like the railway station and housing on the
western side of Melksham (Shaw, Shurnhold etc -are these actually part of
Melksham or separate villages in their own right?) from the town centre, the
severance of one side of the road at Beanacre from the other side (it's a
road-what else do you expect!) Wiltshire Council are now saying we need yet
another bypass to 'make things better' for everyone. You can see from this map
Melksham Settlement Boundary
just why they want the bypass - to infill with the 2000+ homes to fulfill the
See press release here
It is obvious from other WC documents and Atkins report that whilst building a
bypass is not reliant on additional housing, additional housing is 'predicated'
(to use their term) on the bypass being built.
Having managed to persuade the DfT of the merit of their case they acquired £1.9
million to try and prove it really is needed. WC will need to add in the area
of £565,000 to that total.
I have read dozens of WC internal documents (open to all if you can find them!)
and despite the protestations of WC that all options will be given equal weight
in making any decisions the Western Options are rarely mentioned or given
serious consideration when they are, with all the emphasis on eastern routes.
Atkins is the council consultants responsible for preparing reports for such as
the bypass. These reports are lengthy and complex, going into great detail, some
of which is beyond me. However what we do see in sifting through these reports
is the oh-so obvious strong bias towards the eastern routes. In one report
Atkins openly dismiss the western options as being a non-starter due to the
multiple complications on that side of town.
As a matter of fact, the only time I have seen any real reference to western
routes or to improving the current A350 is in the documentation put out by WC in
connection with the November consultation.
These snippets from the Nov 2019 Akins SOBC addendum
give an indication. The other route options including improving what is already
there are red herrings I suspect, to conceal the real purpose of getting an
eastern route through.
Lots of choice makes it look good but the
the western routes are too difficult to do and improving the existing one is
good value for money. Offer us a couple of routes they know will be very
unpopular (10c and d), so that when 10a or b are selected it appears they have
listened to popular opinion and Joe public thinks they have a victory.
Maggie Thatcher did a similar thing in the 1980's with the Poll tax that turned
into the Council Tax and everyone thought 'great, they listened to us'!!.
Perhaps this snippet shows the way
any objections would be seen by WC -
just a nuisance, causing a delay and some extra cost
Take my word for it, WC must have this bypass for reasons other than cutting a few
minutes off of journey times (just 3 to 5 minutes on 10c is Atkins estimate) and they
will twist and turn, duck and dive until they get their way. For them, it must
happen, and it must be one of the eastern options because, other than looking daft
and wasting a shed load of OUR money if it doesn't, they need to build
2000 odd houses around Melksham to fulfill their 5 year plan 2021-26 and an
eastern bypass is the best 'infill option ' for it. Commercial development will
follow on the eastern side of the new bypass, just as is happening in
The very minimum they would find acceptable would be 10a as this would allow
housing infill, with 10b or 10c being even better. A feeder road is currently
being built (from Thyme Road ) through the Spa Road east development which will
eventually link the 10a or b to the current Bowerhill Roundabout on the A365.
Routes 10c or 10 d would avoid the feeder road entirely. So why is this feeder
road being built at all I wonder, if 10c or d wouldn't use it?
My best guess is when the feeder road and houses on the Spa Road estate are
completed; the existing Snowberry Lane and Eastern Way south of Thyme Road will
be become redundant and built over. Maybe not, but from WC point of view it's
good housing land and the road will not be needed
WC has identified greenfield land around Melksham and Bowerhill for possible
future housing development. All this is currently outside of the Settlement
Boundary of both areas. There are certain circumstances whereby WC can
themselves allocate land outside a settlement boundary but it is much easier if
it can be converted into 'infill' as with a bypass.
This map shows the identified land
shown here in very light blue. As you can clearly see, an eastern bypass would
be very useful in opening up the shaded areas.
If perhaps you think WC would never build houses so very close to our lovely
canal then think again. It has happened on the outskirts of Devizes where a
whole new estate is being built with just a 15 metre gap between the canal and
And here we have some more idea of what’s to come in
SHELAA 2017 Land for development Melksham
If this has got you interested then all the documents and pictures used (and
some unused as yet) in these web pages are
for you to dig into. If on the other hand you are bored stiff then I wont be
offended if you log off. However I ask that you just consider using the
consultation response form on
November 2020 public consultation
(ends on the17th January) just so that WC cannot say in the future "You didn't
tell us that!"