Westbury lies on the busy A350, the major road link from the M4 motorway to the south coast. The road passes through residential development as well as commercial areas with historic buildings very close to the road edge. High levels of traffic make congestion a problem along with the associated issues of noise and air pollution, and conflict between traffic and pedestrians.
Discussions about a bypass round Westbury have been going on for more than a decade and there has been considerable local debate over the best route.
Wiltshire County Council submitted an initial planning application in 2005. Plans moved closer to reality in 2006 when this became one of a number of schemes the Government expect to fund in the next three years. Amended plans which included further environmental measures, were approved by the County Council's regulatory committee on May 16 2007. Subsequently the Secretary of State “called-in” the planning application and a Public Inquiry will now be held.
The scheme aims to provide traffic relief for Westbury, allowing road space in the town to be re-allocated to other travel modes like cycling and walking, improve journey time reliability on the A350 and improve access to employment areas, particularly the West Wilts Trading Estate.
Traffic levels - BACK TO TOP
There are automatic traffic monitoring sites on the A350 either side of Westbury.
The current flows at Heywood, to the north of Westbury, are in the region of 14,800 veh/24hour, and at Chalford, to the south of Westbury, they are 15,400 veh/24 hour. The proportion of heavy goods vehicles on the A350 are 7.0% at Heywood and 6.2% at Chalford. Based on calculated growth the traffic flows on the Westbury bypass would be in the region of 11,800 veh/24hour in 2007.
With the construction of the bypass, Westbury traffic is predicted to reduce from 15,990 veh/24hour to 9,500 veh/24hour on Fore Street, from 20,400 veh/24hour to 6,700 veh/24hour on Haynes Road, and from 24,600 veh/24hour to 11,700 veh/24 hour on Warminster Road.
The HGV traffic within Westbury would fall significantly. With the bypass the 24-hour HGV flow on Haynes Road is estimated to reduce by approximately 86%. With the majority of existing HGV traffic in Westbury would transfer to the new bypass.
Pedestrians - BACK TO TOP
The current A350 takes traffic through the centre of Westbury adjacent to pedestrian routes to shops and schools along Haynes Road, Warminster Road, Fore Street and West End. There are four schools in the vicinity of the road, with hundreds of pupils walking to and from school daily. The busy road is close to shops, sheltered housing and residential areas.
Historic buildings - BACK TO TOP
Westbury has more than 150 listed buildings, some of which lay along the current route of the A350.
Click to enlarge map (Distribution of listed buildings in Westbury)
Routes - BACK TO TOP
The County Council considered a variety of route options for a bypass around Westbury. These include eastern routes, an inner western route, an outer western route, and a variety of far western routes.
Following the conclusion of a planning conference and public consultation in 1997/98, a review of route options in 1999, and the presentation of a route study report to the County Council's Environment and Transport Committee in July 2001, the eastern route was confirmed as the preferred route for the Westbury bypass.
The eastern route was chosen as it provides by far the best traffic relief for the town centre and is the most cost effective at doing so.