Agenda item

Proposed A350 Melksham Bypass: launch of public consultation into shortlisted route options

Steve Wilson - Major Projects Highways Engineer, Wiltshire Council






Steve Wilson - Major Projects Highways Engineer, Wiltshire Council outlined the second public consultation of the A350 Melksham Bypass.


That the consultation provided the opportunity to gather additional information on the scheme and its potential effects and help identify mitigation measures where required.


The views of organisations with specialist knowledge of the area would be particularly important in helping to refine the proposals.


It should be noted that the consultation was not a public ‘vote’ for or against the scheme. A wide range of factors had to be taken into account in determining the emerging bypass option.


There would be other formal consultation stages in the future, including at the planning application and in connection with the statutory orders, but it was considered that ongoing consultation was a vital aspect in developing major projects of this type.


Your views would help Wiltshire Council develop the scheme, and would be taken into account.



Note: A comprehensive power point presentation was attached to these minutes.


Points made included:


Primary transport objectives


·         Reduced journey times and improved reliability north - south along A350


         Reduced journey times and improved reliability east – west through Melksham


         Provide enhanced opportunities for walking & cycling


         Safety – reduce personal injury rates and severity


         Reduce the severance effect of the existing A350 route



About the second consultation


The scheme is now progressing towards the submission of the Outline Business Case (OBC).


The aims of this non-statutory consultation were to:


         Engage with stakeholders affected by or interested in the scheme


         Engage with potentially affected landowners


         Encourage involvement from stakeholders and build strong open relationships


         Raise awareness of the scheme and understanding for the need to improve the A350


         Inform about the single emerging option identified


         Understand stakeholder concerns, issues and suggestions


         Receive feedback on the single emerging option to allow us to develop the scheme further


         Prepare for the statutory consultation phases



Emerging Bypass option


      Approximately 9km long


      Single carriageway (9.3m) with scope to widen


      Generally designed for national speed limit


      Roundabout at A350 tie in north of Halfway Farm and south of Lacock village


      Long, low level viaduct needed across River Avon and flood zone


      Bridge at Wilts & Berks canal route


      Woodrow Road – no junction. Woodrow Road diverted at Hack Farm


      Bridges at Forest Brook


      Roundabout with A3102 Sandridge Common east of Manor Farm


      Alignment developed to avoid suspected buried historical settlement with archaeological interest


      Bridges for Clackers Brook


      Roundabout with A365 west of Vernon Farm


      Route passes approximately mid way between Bowerhill and Kennet & Avon canal


      Roundabout at A350 between Littleton & Hampton Park roundabouts, to the north of the Kennet & Avon aqueduct



Environmental matters


      Initial environmental and ecological surveys done – more investigations needed


      Some impacts unavoidable – always looking to mitigate and enhance


      Screening vegetation and hedgerows


      Attenuation ponds – opportunity for habitat creation



      Flood zone impacts


      Low-carbon alternative materials & construction


      Local sourcing of materials


      Minimise excavation and maximise re-use of material


      Noise and air quality considerations


      Access to countryside



Views were requested by 8August 2021


Information on the emerging option will be available from 24th June 2021 at:


Website will include:


Information pack covering areas such as:


·         A350 route & need for the scheme


·         Transport objectives and other local outcomes


·         The scheme preparation process


·         Outcomes from previous consultation


·         Assessment work and option sifting process


·         Reasons as to why options have not progressed


·         The emerging route with notional cross section information


·         Traffic flow and journey time information


·         Provision for pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders


·         Environmental considerations



Questions raised included:


·         How can Highways justify going for the longest route? – the scheme has to go through both planning and public enquiry.


·         Many concerns re environmental issues, with many species of bat having habitats on the preferred route – full environmental investigations would be carried out


·         Would the agreed route be safeguarded even if fund becomes unavailable for it in the future? – this would come under planning matters, but certainly a question that would be good to feed into the local plan review


·         Did the sifting process start 9 months ago? - yes, approximately 9 months ago for the current work


·         The Strategic outline business case doesn’t define the solution – Wiltshire Council has had to have followed the relevant guidance


It was agreed that Steve Wilson would follow up questions that were raised.


The Chairman thanked Steve Wilson for his presentation.

Supporting documents: