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Campaigner warming up to fight Melksham bypass plans – can you help?

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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: gmac@bowerhill.info

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.”

5 Responses to Campaigner warming up to fight Melksham bypass plans – can you help?

  1. Gary Jardine

    October 16, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Dear Sir,
    As a Beanacre resident and have lived here since 1986 I can categorically confirm an increase in traffic volumes from 5,000 vehicles a day to 44,000 vehicles a day and a big increase in HGV’s.
    It’s the same old story of ‘Not in my back Yard’.
    Nobody really wants another 2,500 new homes but it’s a fact that more people equals more homes.
    We need new roads to accommodate the increase in new homes.
    The ones that are objecting to a proposed Melksham Eastern Bypass are the ones that don’t live near the A350 and never use it during peak travelling times.
    All this tosh about wildlife is just that because changes would be made to accommodate wildlife. That is tunnels under the Bypass.
    The main issue here is the infrastructure that will be required.
    New schools, doctors and even a new hospital.
    Gary Jardine
    07745 069042

  2. Jan

    October 16, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    We have more heavies at the moment because they are being diverted from Bath’s Cleveland Bridge but climate change wants us to reduce all traffic and a new road will generate an increase of up to 47%
    Farmer’s Roundabout has improved flow and slow flow viz 20/30mph is better for emission control than +55mph
    We are not France or Germany with huge swathes of open country with miles between villages and if we are not careful Wiltshire will be a concrete jungle

  3. Les

    October 17, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    I agree with Garry Jardine, the Beanacre Road in Melksham frequently suffers from long traffic jams, due to the excess of HGV and cars passing through, the road has gained popularity as a main route to Portsmouth.
    Besides the obvious increase of exhaust fumes the road needs frequent repair around the protruding manhole covers in the road and I suspect the added vibration from all these vehicles is doing unseen damage to gas, water and sewage pipes that serve all the residential properties along this route. A bypass would be of enormous benefit to Wiltshire and Melksham including residential, commerce and industrial estates as a whole.
    I think the minority backyard argument is rather selfish as they would not suffer with traffic flow passing right through the centre of Bower hill.

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