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Author Topic: Wiltshire Local Plan and Melksham Bypass consultations - MRUG inputs  (Read 255 times)
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« on: March 09, 2021, 11:59:37 am »

How will our county and town look by 2036? Will we have a population up from 25,000 to 45,000?   Will we have a new bypass that bypasses the current bypass?  Will we have roads congested with electric cars, or an integrated public transport network with twigs reaching out into most streets?  Will we have a train service still every 2 hours - or will it have slipped back to twice a day or nothing at all - or will it be up to hourly, or twice an hour with alternate trains on Oxford - Swindon - Westbury - Salisbury Southampton and Bristol - Bath - Corsham - Melksham - Staverton - Bradford-on-Avon - Bath - Bristol?  Will the trains be electric? Will buses reach the station? Will the planet be stabalised in climate or burning up? Will we still be talking about a northern exit from the station? Will I be able to go out to the pub to celebrate my 82nd birthday, or will alcohol have been classified as a dangerous drug likely to incite dangerous behaviour and been driven underground? Will working from home be the norm?

My crystal ball is hazy, but I have been answering consultations with and on behalf of the Melksham Rail User Group on the Melksham Bypass and the Wiltshire Local Plan. Whether anyone takes any notice of our inputs or not (sometimes I wonder!) it they do provide a framework for thought onto which to help us clarify our own views, and if we are very lucky we may influence strategic documents which may oil the wheels of shorter term objectives.

Answer to the "A350 Melksham Bypass" consultation:
1. We commend greener and public transport alternatives and mitigations
2. We request you consider wider alternatives such as improving the A36/A46 bottleneck
3. We request than any rail crossings allow for double track
4. We ask that any new build does not reduce access to the railway station
5. We request that data modelling is done with the latest data and projections not old ones
6. We request that new build does not interfere with the full restoration of the canal
7. We ask that steps be taken to route freight off the road onto rail
8. We ask opportunities be taken to improve cycling and walking routes and amenity access

Answer to the Wiltshire Local Plan:
1. Please ensure that new builds are located within easy walking distance of transport hubs
2. Please make new developments porous to allow easy walking and cycling
3. Please add public transport to walking and cycling as an area to invest in infrastructure
4. Please prioitise buses and bus facilities over even more parking at Melksham Station
5. Please provide for an improved welcoming environment for visitors to Melksham
6. Although we are a transport group, please provide plenty locally so people can travel less

Note that reductions of requests to soundbites may at times distort or blunt their meaning and it certainly removes the detail and cases!

These have been uploaded to the MRUG» (Melksham Rail User Group - site) site and will also be covered at the meeting on 17th - all welcome via Zoom - code at

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2021, 04:52:34 am »

Wiltshire Council have published the following:

Good to see the Melksham Rail User Group quoted, and one or two of the ideas from that making it to the "we need to look at" summary.   Around 1000 responses in total, including one from TransWilts.  Luckily, it lines up with the MRUG» (Melksham Rail User Group - site) input - as we sent them a draft copy of our input, and we all work towards the same overall objectives, that is only to be expected.

Threads on this getting a bit messy - use to get you to the most recent threads and documents.

Coffee Shop Admin, Vice Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, and on the board of TravelWatch SouthWest.
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2021, 03:48:38 pm »

As someone who lived for 5 years in Batheaston (and thus understands the opposition to linking the A36/A46 there) and who has campaigned on TransWilts issues for years (and thus understands the opposition to the A350 assuming a "supertrunk" role), and who also now works on similar matters over here in France, I guess you could say I have many potential perspectives on this. I will probably address my take on actual solutions in a Transport Scholars post at some point after Ive first run my observations past grahame, Phil and others privately.

What I wanted to put across in this post though is how these results can be both a statistician's dream or a statistician's nightmare.

Do you, for example, take the apparent 60%-ish support for "the need for an improvement to the A350 at Beanacre and Melksham" as majority support for a road-based solution, or do you give appropriate weight to the fact that much of this is based on rail, bus, walking and cycling options. And do you consider support for rail, bus, walking and cycling options to be of note in its own right, or only as a supplementary approach to a road-based solution?

Ive recently done a lot of work in Saint Brieuc, and their approach is described as follows:

"Our territory is attractive, constantly evolving with new housing and new activities taking hold: The need for travel (whether on foot, by bicycle, by public transport or by car) is increasing. Air quality has been affected, with recent years, a deterioration which shows the need to change mobility practices.

Many objectives are to be achieved, including:

- Guaranteeing good accessibility for everyone and the safety of everyone when traveling;

- Preserve the environment and improve the living environment;

- Foster coherence between urbanization and travel offer.

The general objective of this project is not to demonize the car, but to ensure that the use of it is neither exclusive nor an obstacle to the practice of other modes of travel, such as is too often the case today. With its Urban Travel Plan, Saint-Brieuc Armor Agglomeration affirms the desire to move from a system where the automobile is dominant to a sustainable system which is part of a complementarity between the different modes of transport."

This is one of the closest fits I have ever seen with the ethos and philosophy we have evolved over the years from our involvement with Save The Train, through TransWilts Community Rail and continuing today with CoffeeShop and Melksham Rail Users/Transport Group.

If I could make one solid prediction from the bypass consultation report, it would be that Wiltshire Council's originally preferred route option 10c (long eastern bypass) seems to have both come through the process relatively unscathed with what looks like a genuine level of support, and the odds of that being the one they ultimately run with must now be significantly shorter.

Therefore the real prize is securing a positive vision for the Melksham and wider TransWilts corridor that is built within, around and beyond that, and that's the true opportunity that needs to be focused on.

Currently muddling along the Guingamp-Carhaix line
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