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Bypass protesters prepare for battle as proposals are revive

Posted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:28 pm
by goffik
Bypass protesters prepare for battle as proposals are revived

Campaigners who successfully fought against a £35 million bypass around a Wiltshire town are gearing up for the battle to begin again.

Council chiefs have included the controversial Westbury bypass in their long-term Core Strategy, even though it was thrown out by a Government planning inspector four years ago.

Back then, the three-mile-long bypass, which would take the A350 road around the east of Westbury, was rejected because the benefits for the town did not outweigh the damage to the environment and the increase in traffic in surrounding villages.

The money originally earmarked by the Government for the bypass is being spent this summer on doubling the railway line between Kemble and Swindon in the north of Wiltshire instead.

Wiltshire Council has now put out to consultation the possibility of the bypass again, which would be built with a 35-acre business park and 550 new homes on the edge of Westbury. Campaigners battled to convince the planning inspector that the eastern route, between the town and the iconic white horse, was through a nature haven and would damage the views.

A coalition of residents and regional and national environmental groups united to fight the plans.

Pat Kinnersley, the secretary of the White Horse Alliance, said: "This area is the lungs of Wiltshire. We do not need this bypass or another business park or any housing estates, this Swindonisation of Westbury must stop."

Residents of Westbury have long been split over the bypass issue, with the main A350 trunk route sending hundreds of lorries trundling through the town centre every day. Warminster is the only major market town on the route between the M4 and the south coast at Poole not to have a bypass, and traffic levels have increased since 2009 with the enforcement of a lorry ban at nearby Bradford on Avon and moves to discourage lorries from going through Bath on the alternative A36 route.

Residents have long called for a bypass, but many said they preferred a route to the west of the town, away from the picturesque fields beneath the white horse and closer to the town's railway station.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Council said a decision would be made later this year. ... story.html

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