A number of people have asked me some questions re Melksham Bypass here are some of the Qs answered:
Q1. Do you get a say?
A) No this decision will be made by Department for Transport Ministers and their officials.
Q2. Can you represent our views to the Department?
A) I certainly can and have forwarded a number of emails on from constituents direct to the Secretary of State for Transport Rt Hon. Grant Shapps MP.
Q3. Have you met with the Secretary or State for Transport on this matter?
A) I have indeed spoken about the bypass with him and his Special Advisor to ascertain more about the process and because I believe having listened to local people and looked at the route that it is not in the best interests of our town. So whilst I don’t get a say I felt it was right to put that across - equally I know a representative from Council have put forward the counter view in an informal meeting too.
Q4. On what grounds will the decision be made?
A) Whilst the council got the green light they still have get approval at the next stage - it is my understanding that the key thing here will be the strength of the business case.
Q5. Is the bypass 100% going to happen?
A) No. It needs to get through the approval process - value for money can price the tricky part and given costs are going up this will certainly make the business case even harder to prove but that job is down to the Council.
Q5. Are you against a bypass?
A) No - I am opposed to the current route but understand the need to tackle traffic and congestion especially in Beanacre and Lacock.
Q6. Do you live in Melksham? If not how can you have an opinion on this?
A) It my job to represent all of the constituency whether I live there or not. I never let my personal feelings get in the way of my role - my construct comes first. I do actually have a Melksham address and live in a village just outside of Bowerhill. My view on the bypass has always been the same - I support the principle but believe we need to get the right route. I did also declare to the Transport Secretary that I live locally verbally and for completeness I shared my address in writing.
Q7. Why do you oppose the current route?
➡️ The new road could act as a new town boundary and all the land in between could very well then be used for housing. This could, therefore, mean more than doubling Melksham - how can Melksham support this when we already have enough problems with access to doctors, dentists, school spaces etc? And yes housing brings money for these but you still need the people to be the doctors, dentists and teachers.
➡️ It changes the entire dynamic of our rural market town - severing it from the canal.
➡️ Let’s face it the route is massive - meaning the unnecessary devastation of so much wonderful countryside and habitats - where local people currently walk their dog, cycle and farmers farm.
➡️ Given it could lead to so many extra houses, the result in the long run in my opinion will be two busy roads!! So whilst current modelling suggests a MAX benefit of 4 mins off journey times that will mean no actual benefit as the town grows, more strain on our services, reduced access to the countryside, we will be left severed from the canal and with more pollution.
➡️ As I said we do need investment into Melksham’s roads and a solution for Beanacre and Lacock but this route doesn’t seem like a winner to me! We need to get this right for Melksham in the long term.