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A BOWERHILL resident is preparing to campaign against plans for a A350 bypass for Melksham – and he is looking for other residents to join the fight.
Local resident, Graham McNally, says that a new bypass in Melksham would be “environmentally damaging”, and that Wiltshire Council should instead explore options to reduce traffic in the area.
Graham has also highlighted that Wiltshire Council and Melksham Town Council have declared a “climate emergency” and should not be supporting the scheme.
He has also pointed out that the Department for Transport are publishing a transport decarbonisation plan that “recommends decreasing use of private car journeys and more use of affordable public transport and active transit”.
With plans moving forward, and news that Wiltshire Council is launching a public consultation about the scheme later this month, Graham is appealing for other like-minded residents to join his campaign.
Whilst there is no confirmed “preferred” route for the bypass – recent options have included a route to the east of the town connecting the A350 north of Beanacre with the A350 Semington bypass, south of Bowerhill.
And a Wiltshire Council recent report has confirmed that “all options are being revisited” and considered for the bypass route, including the eastern route and “non-bypass” options.
Graham said, “When I heard about the proposed bypass route to the south of Bowerhill my initial reaction was one of feeling extremely upset that we would lose the wonderful green space that my family and I, plus residents of Bowerhill have enjoyed for the last 20-plus years.
“Due to the ongoing pandemic and need to social distance, it has shown how important the green spaces have become, vital in the wellbeing of local people.
“From walkers, cyclists, runners, dog walkers, and those just trying to unwind, use of our local green spaces has surged in the past months.
“With the public consultation beginning soon, I am keen to get a campaign together with the aim of objecting to any/all options for the bypass going ahead.
“I know it will upset my friends along the Beanacre road, but we need to explore better options to reduce traffic and help in the fight against climate change, that includes better public transport, active transport, working from home, using smart road technology, and changing working patterns away from 9-5.”
Listing the possible negative impact a bypass might have on the area, Graham said, “Congestion will get worse due to induced traffic and be pushed to the next choke point, increased noise/air/microplastic pollution, increased carbon emissions of the build and the increased traffic, all of the area encompassed by the bypass will be developed for housing with little or no additional infrastructure or jobs.
“Melksham will unfortunately become another commuter town with even more congestion.”
If you are interested in joining Graham’s campaign, email: email@example.com
Wiltshire Council discussed the proposed public consultation at their cabinet meeting on Tuesday 13th October, at which councillors unanimously backed plans to launch the “predominantly online” consultation later this month.
The outcome of the consultation will help inform the selection of a “preferred route.”