Cabinet gives the green light to the next steps in Melksham bypass project

16th October 2020, 2:37pm | By Peter Dunford |

Wiltshire Council’s cabinet on Tuesday 13 October approved plans for a non-statutory engagement exercise into a proposed A350 bypass around Melksham.

The council is currently exploring the case for a new bypass to take the A350 around Melksham, and later this month will be seeking the views of residents, businesses, town and parish councils, and other stakeholders on the progress made so far, and the proposed route options.

The council will present the progress of the project so far at the Melksham Area Board public meeting on Wednesday 4 November, and then give people the opportunity to take part in an initial engagement exercise. More information on the engagement exercise and how people can have their say will be available soon.

The engagement exercise will seek feedback on the early stages of the scheme development as the council creates an outline business case. It will be followed by further consultation later in 2021.

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “This marks the next step towards a bypass for Melksham that would create a more reliable, less congested transport network; support economic and planned development growth at key locations; reduce air pollutants and emissions from transport; and also improve safety for all road users.

“We’ll be releasing more details soon on how people can have their say on the proposed route options at this early stage of the project, though it is important to note that at this stage, all route options are indicative and do not show the exact route that any road may take. The specifics of any preferred route will be subject to full consultation in 2021.

“Once this initial engagement is complete, we will begin to prepare an outline business case that will also include the outcome of the consultation, before it can be submitted to the Department for Transport in autumn 2021.”

The council was initially awarded Department for Transport (DfT) funding in March 2020 to further develop the case for the A350 Melksham bypass, having considered its initial submission in July 2019.

Since then, the council has been undertaking technical exercises to enhance the evidence base for a bypass, with this work, along with public feedback, due to inform the outline business case.

The scheme is being promoted through the DfT’s Large Local Majors Fund, which is intended to support a small number of large local highway authority road schemes that could not be funded through normal routes. If approved, the scheme could cost around £135m in total, but this would depend on the route option chosen.

The consultation will be formally launched at the Melksham Area Board meeting on Wednesday 4 November at 7pm.

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