|Wiltshire County Council's January 2007 Phoney Funding Presentation|
It was queried if it was factual, but WCC officers subsequently repeated it before Westbury Town Council.
A senior WCC officer's report to County Councillors went on to claim: 'the DfT confirmed in December 2006 that following consideration of the 10 year Regional Funding Allocation programme submitted by the South West Regional Assembly that it anticipates funding the A350 Westbury Bypass in the next three years.'
Here is Wiltshire County Council's Planning Officer's 16 May 2007 Report [on pdf] - main item 15 refers.
However, full enquiries, inclusive of asking WCC, found that there is no such December 2006 DfT letter.
There is no letter of any time where the DfT actually said that it anticipated funding a Westbury Bypass.
WCC responded to enquiries by attaching the letter from the DfT of 6 July 2006 (NB: not December 2006).
Here is the Department for Transport's July '06 Regional Funding Allocations letter [on pdf] - as referred to.
A350 Westbury Bypass is in Annex A 'Schemes for funding within the next three years (2006/07 – 2008/09)'. However, the WCC report failed to convey that this DfT letter also stated 'subject to the points noted', ie: A350 Westbury Bypass (Wilts) is actually listed under the heading 'Schemes which do not yet have approval (i.e. not accepted into the Programme)'. The 6 July 2006 DfT letter is specific about this - and much more. There is an asterisk by Westbury Bypass, which the Annex tells us 'denotes scheme from region's table 2A'. In the body of the DfT letter it is made clear that 'schemes from table 2A have been identified as potential additions to the RFA, subject to environmental impact, affordability, deliverability and statutory procedures.' '... Note that schemes in table 1 have been firmly prioritised...' And 'DfT provision of funding will be subject to schemes demonstrating sufficient value for money and being supported by a suitable business case...' And the 6 July 2006 DfT letter further qualifies schemes expected to be funded during the next three years as those currently under construction and those expected to start construction; neither category applying to Wiltshire County Council's now-defunct Westbury Bypass scheme.
If this was the letter which WCC officers have been relying upon to support their contention that the DfT had made some sort of commitment towards funding a Westbury Bypass, they were avoiding all the issues and conditions in this July 2006 DfT letter. By omitting reference to the all-important qualifying parameters, they could be accused of misrepresenting the facts of the matter to the public and to their own councillors.
From what we had heard, WCC's Westbury Bypass scheme was only in the tables at all through persistent demanding by WCC, threatening non-cooperation with the Regional Assembly if WCC did not get its way. However, it can be seen that the scheme was actually far from any commitment of Government funding.
WCC's heading for its funding presentation, above, as the 'Current Position' was not factual at any time.
Other Wiltshire County Council presentation spin about a 'Single RFA Programme' and 'Programme Entry May/June 2007' was also highly misleading. The Westbury Bypass scheme has never been approved.
WCC was hoping to manoeuvere its scheme up the tables - and was presenting it as a fait-accompli.
The result had been to create a false impression that WCC's eastern Westbury bypass was on its way.
'Full Approval Spring/Summer 2008' may have fooled the town council. Though who believes it now...?
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