Wiltshire Council’s cabinet has today (Tuesday 13 October) approved plans for a non-statutory engagement exercise into the proposed Melksham Bypass on the A350.
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.
Local councillor welcomes proposed Melksham Bypass
Speaking at the Wiltshire Council cabinet meeting Melksham South Councillor, Jon Hubbard, welcomed the proposed consultation saying, "This is good new for Melksham and for Melksham's residents. The result of the continued growth of the town, especially the unplanned growth that is the result of the failed 5 year land supply means that the A350 now carries significantly more traffic than ever and we see significant amounts of traffic travelling through residential areas in an effort to avoid the bottlenecks.
"This bypass can help significantly improve the air quality in our town and enhance the environment for local people.
"It is though important that we listen to everyone in the local community and I urge everyone in the Melksham area to take part in this consultation. Come along to the Area Board meeting on 4th November to find out more and get details on how to contribute your thoughts and ask any questions you have."
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.