|Conservative Agenda of Car-Dependent Housing Development, Ignoring Sound Planning, the Bypass Inquiry Result and Reality|
Most Westbury people were against the Fruit Bat Eastern Bypass project, which went badly for WC at the Planning Inquiry where there were twice as many Wiltshire residents voicing their objections as those who wanted a bypass around Westbury.
As if challenging the planning process which rejected its Eastern Bypass scheme, Wiltshire Council appears to hope to resurrect the counter-productive project by means of road-linked development.
Wiltshire Council reports: 'The Secretary of State's decision on the Westbury bypass has put back the implementation of this project. However, there is an opportunity for the authority to bring the project back to the attention of Government through the Homes & Communities Agency's Single Conversation which is due to start in December. The emphasis will be on how improved transport infrastructure in the Westbury area could help to bring forward new housing development.' WC, 24 November 2009.
The Planning Inspector independently reached the conclusion that WC's Eastern Westbury Bypass should be refused planning permission as the scheme was out of date and the harm which it would have caused to our local landscape (and others) was not justified by the minimal actual need for it. The final conclusion was decided after the full Independent Public Planning Inquiry, held in Westbury between June & October 2008, where everyone had their say and all of the evidence was considered.
The previous government fundamentally backed the planning inspector's recommendation of refusal for planning reasons, as it was a counter-productive concept. The Conservatives are ignoring this.
Here is a diagram of Wiltshire Council's suggested new housing development sites for Westbury:
Note a preponderance of development zoned for the eastern side of Westbury and how much of it matches the previously intended route of Wiltshire Council's since-refused eastern bypass project.
The obvious possibility of new housing along the proposed bypass route was discussed at the Inquiry. Wiltshire Council basically denied that that there was any linkage or indeed that it could ever happen.
The above Wiltshire Council report also refers to 'improving journey reliablity' on the same A350 road, with apparently little encouragement of the under-used Trans-Wilts railway which parallels the road.
Which seems to go with the continuing neglect of full access to Westbury main-line railway station.
New homes which are dependent upon cars will produce increased road traffic to choke the roads.
Wiltshire Council's Core Strategy is intended to encourage counter-productive development.
Westbury Bypass has never been off Wiltshire Council's mind. It is back on the agenda now.
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