Planning Inspector's Conclusion - Harm Outweighed Benefit

As below, the Inspector independently reached the conclusion that the eastern Westbury Bypass should be refused planning permission as the scheme was out of date and the harm which it would have caused to our local landscape (and others) was not justified by the minimal actual need for it.

This final conclusion was decided after a full Independent Public Planning Inquiry, held in Westbury from June to October 2008, where everyone had their say and all of the evidence was considered.

The Planning Inspector politely summarised the reasons for turning down WC's eastern bypass.

Harm caused by the proposed new road would have outweighed any potential benefit.

Wiltshire County Council ought to have properly considered the same balance of harms to benefits.

The Inspector discounted wildlife and water concerns as objections to the scheme, but focussed upon adverse effect on landscape.  So nobody can truthfully say that wildlife is being put higher than people.

The inspector commented on the counter-productive visual effects of the proposed banking and gantries.

HGV volumes through Westbury are unexceptional, he observed.   Delays and journey time unreliability are caused by problems elsewhere, at Yarnbrook & West Ashton (its fix for which too tricky WCC had dumped).

The Bristol / Bath to South Coast Study, the BB2SC study referred to by the Inspector, was issued in 2004. At the following South West Regional Assembly, held at County Hall, Trowbridge, in 2004, all, including WCC, agreed that A350 improvements and any A350 Westbury Bypass would be left out of their recommendations and that HGVs would be signed to the A34 as the main north-south route.  Wiltshire County Council ignored what was agreed.  Wiltshire County Council produced a planning application for its eastern Westbury Bypass in 2005, a year later.  The scheme was acknowledged to be unsatisfactory.  Wiltshire County Council spent on insistently and issued a further planning application, based upon similar outdated and unsound concepts, in 2007.  Wiltshire County Council ignored all opinion against the scheme.   Conservative Wiltshire Council has now wasted about 5M of Wiltshire council tax contributions on this one obviously defective project.

Wiltshire Council put up further spin and squandered yet more public money on futile legal consultation  (also on changing from WCC to WC) before discreetly abandoning its face-saving big talk of an appeal.

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