Plans that could see an eastern bypass built around Chippenham – relieving congestion and freeing up housing and employment land – have been revealed.
Wiltshire Council, supported by Chippenham Town Council and the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership has bid for £75 million of infrastructure funding from the Government.
If successful, the funding will be used to build a new road to the east and south of Chippenham, linking the A350 at the northern and southern ends of the town, as well as carrying out specific improvement works at J17 on the M4.
The town currently suffers from severe rush hour congestion. A 2010 report found that making merely improvements to the A350 would:
- Save £7.7m in business user and vehicle operating costs
- Save £25.5m in other road user costs
- Bring reliability benefits of £13.1m
An eastern bypass would also unlock development land that could deliver up to 7,500 new homes in Chippenham and 1 million sq ft of commercial space over the next 25 years without causing additional infrastructure problems, the council said this week.
Cllr Philip Whitehead, leader of Wiltshire Council, said: "These kinds of opportunities and funding levels don't happen very often, so it was important that a very strong case for funding was submitted. Our bid is bold and transformational and will make a positive change to people's lives across Chippenham and the surrounding areas.
"Some of Chippenham's infrastructure is already at capacity which causes problems for the residents every day of the week. This investment is essential not only to provide a sustainable network fit for the 21st century but also to enable growth both in employment and housing in Chippenham. Improvements will also include enhancement of the town centre and access to it, new community facilities and new public green space for the enjoyment of all Chippenham residents."
Michelle Donelan MP, added: "As Chippenham's MP my main priority is to make the lives of local residents better. I have listened to the key asks of residents and this bid can fulfil them.
"I fully support the £75 million bid on the understanding that the Council has pledged to use the money for a multi-story car park, more and better leisure facilities including an improved or new leisure centre and an area reserved for entertainment facilities.
"In addition, that there are significant improvements to traffic flow and congestion and that enough money is used to ensure education and health facilities will be expanded to cope with the growth of the town.
"The plans must also increase the sense of community and preserve our town centre as well as enabling more active lifestyles with cycling, walking and green spaces kept at the heart of the plans.
"This bid will enable Chippenham to be the town that residents have asked for and I shall continue to work with the government and council to help secure this money."
It is anticipated the Government will announce successful bids by the end of December 2019. Building work could be completed by 2025.