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Agenda item

A350 Melksham Bypass

*                 Report of the Chief Executive.

 

Minutes:

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Cabinet member Highways, Transport and Waste presented the report seeking approval to undertake public consultation on the options for the A350 Melksham Bypass Scheme, and to carry out the options appraisal to inform the adoption of a preferred option for the scheme.

 

Questions were received from Anne Henshaw, Diana Evans, Janet Giles, and Janey Wilks about the A350 Melksham Bypass. Further questions were received from Andrew Nicolson and Patrick Kinnersly and statements from Richard Kendall and Bill Jarvis after the deadline for the receipt of questions and statements.

 

Cllr Whitehead acknowledged that the questions had received written responses which had been published on the Council’s website prior to the meeting. The were no requests for supplementary questions.

 

Cllr Wayman highlighted the importance of the A350 to the local economy and the road being one of the busiest major roads in Wiltshire. She reported that funding has been received from the Department of Transport (DfT) to develop a Large Local Major improvement scheme for the A350 at Melksham and for the preparation of an Outline Business Case.  It was noted that a range of options had been developed and that the options would be the subject of public consultation to gauge opinion on the preferred option and enable the Outline Business Case to be developed for the DfT.

 

Cllr Whitehead indicated that, similar to Melksham, the DfT would be funding future schemes along routes running from the south coast to the M4, this would incorporate proposals for Westbury.

 

In response to questions from Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrats about (i) the critical need for public consultation and information about environmental impacts; (ii) the emerging carbon impacts of the scheme; and (iii) The inclusion of climate emergency in references to the Council’s business plan; Cllr Wayman explained that (i) public consultation and information about environmental impacts would be an integral part of the scheme process; (ii) improvements to traffic flows would result in lower emissions, along with the move to lower emission vehicles and continued rise in the use of electric vehicles; and (iii) References to climate emergency would be included in this section of future reports.

 

Comments arising from the general discussion included:

 

·       The consultation is welcomed and the opportunity for local residents’ views to be taken into account is of high importance, alongside all comments received;

·       Air pollution issues would be taken into account as part of the scheme;

·       Previous works to the A350 between Semington and Melksham roundabouts had been prepared with future dualling of the road included;

·       The importance of Area Board involvement;

·       Reporting of the schemes progress to the public;

·       The impact of the clean air zone in Bath on surrounding roads through west Wiltshire.

 

Resolved:

i)               To undertake public consultation on the options for the A350 Melksham Bypass scheme, which would take the form of a predominantly on-line consultation.

 

ii)             To obtain the views of the Town and Parish Councils, Area Board and other organisations in order to inform the future development of the scheme.

 

iii)           Report the outcome of the consultation and the options appraisal to a future Cabinet meeting in order to consider the adoption of a Preferred Option for the scheme, the submission of an Outline Business Case to the Department of Transport, and the submission of a planning application for the scheme.

 

 

Reason for Decision:

The A350 Melksham Bypass is a Large Local Major scheme which has been awarded development funding by the DfT to take it to OBC stage. It will be a major improvement to the important A350 route which provides vital transport links between the M4 and the towns of western Wiltshire.

 

As part of the development of the scheme various options have been identified and, in order to inform assessment of these options, it is proposed to undertake consultations with the public, town and parish councils, the Area Board and other organisations.

 

In order to progress the development of the proposals it will be necessary to adopt a preferred option, prepare an Outline Business Case to submit to the DfT, and prepare a planning application for the scheme.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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