A350 road

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A350 road shield

A350 road
The A350 near Hindon, Wiltshire; the overbridge carries the A303 road
Route information
Length: 70.1 mi[1] (112.8 km)
Major junctions
north end: [ M 4  ] M4 motorway
51°30′53″N 2°07′18″W / 51.5148°N 2.1217°W / 51.5148; -2.1217
  A420 A420 road
A4 A4 road
A365 A365 road
A3102 A3102 road
A361 A361 road
A363 A363 road
A3098 A3098 road
A36 A36 road
A362 A362 road
A303 A303 road
A30 A30 road
A357 A357 road
A354 A354 road
A31 A31 road
A35 A35 road
A349 A349 road
A3049 A3049 road
south end: A35 A35 road
50°44′25″N 2°01′03″W / 50.74034°N 2.01756°W / 50.74034; -2.01756
Road network

The A350 is a north-south primary route in southern England, that runs from the M4 motorway in Wiltshire to Poole in Dorset.

Route[edit]

Starting at junction 17 of the M4 motorway north of Chippenham, it goes past the small village of Lacock and then through the towns of Melksham, Westbury, Warminster, Shaftesbury and Blandford Forum, ending in Poole beside Poole Harbour, an English Channel port. There have been many bypasses built along the A350, including at Shaftesbury in the 1950s, Chippenham, Warminster, Blandford Forum and most recently south of Melksham at Semington. The Semington stretch was made wide enough for future carriageway 'dualling' should it be required. Most parts of the route are single carriageway with a few short tracts of dual carriageway.

The section between Chippenham and Warminster also takes in the towns of Melksham and Westbury (and Trowbridge, slightly to the west), plus several villages. Nevertheless, this entire stretch of the A350 remains a single carriageway. This section frequently becomes congested due to the close proximity of several sizeable population centres over a relatively short distance (whose thousands of commuters are served by only a single-lane road), and the fact that it is also a major trunk road linking the M4 to the port of Poole, used by thousands of heavy goods vehicles each week.

However, parts of the road - particularly the section between Shaftesbury and Blandford Forum - remain almost completely unimproved; in at least one location the road is not wide enough to allow two lorries to pass safely, and the remainder of the Shaftesbury-Blandford stretch is narrow with several dangerous blind corners, resembling almost B-Road status.

History[edit]

When first designated in 1922 the A350 ran only from Warminster to Poole.[2] By 1948 the road had been extended north from Warminster to Chippenham on the former routes of the A363 and the A364.[3] In the 1990s the road was extended north from Chippenham to the M4 Motorway by renumbering the A429.

Proposed developments[edit]

Westbury Bypass[edit]

A controversial £33 million bypass around Westbury was initially proposed in 1997 with public consultation and a selection of route options proposed in 1999. Wiltshire County Council's Environment and Transport Committee selected the Eastern Route (though it was the least popular) as the 'preferred route' in 2001, because the Council said that it offered the best and lowest cost way of relieving traffic congestion in the town centre. The council submitted an initial planning application during 2005. The council said that the government indicated that it was in favour of the project in 2006.[4] The Council presented a further planning application in 2007.

The council's selected route (shown on this Google overlay map) would pass to the east of the town.[5] The council expects it to reduce traffic through Westbury, create more space for cyclists & pedestrians and improve journey time reliability on the A350, by two minutes. It would also provide a new access road to the West Wilts Trading Estate, though not to the other Westbury Trading Estates, or the Railway Station or the designated Future Intermodal Freight Terminal.[4] The Eastern Westbury Bypass scheme, would, by the council's own forecasts, cause increased heavy goods vehicle flow through other West Wiltshire communities, such as Southwick, which already have over twice the HGVs of Westbury. The eastern bypass route is supported by the 'Westbury Bypass Now' group.[6]

The council's route, which runs close to the Westbury White Horse, two Sites of Special Scientific Interest, near Salisbury Plain and through a Special Landscape Area, is not included in the Regional Transport Priority for South West England.[7] The route has been described as 'highly intrusive' by the council's landscape officer.[8] It is attracting opposition from various environmental and local groups including the White Horse Alliance, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Woodland Trust, Friends of the Earth, Campaign for Better Transport (UK)[9] and Wiltshire Wildlife.[10]

The scheme was 'called in' in 2007. An Inquiry into the scheme was held in July 2008. It was adjourned until September–October after objectors noticed that some figures for lorry counts were out by 100%. The inquiry ended in the autumn of 2008. The decision was with John Denham the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.[11] The planning inspectors have now recommended refusal of planning permission for Wiltshire Council's eastern Westbury bypass scheme. So the scheme has been turned down by the Government.

Gallery[edit]

Image gallery
heavy goods traffic in Westbury
Traffic in Westbury 
a view of the Westbury White Horse from the proposed eastern bypass
view of the Westbury White Horse from the proposed route 
View of southern section of proposed bypass route
View of southern section of bypass route 
historic milestone near Lacock
Early 19th century milestone near Lacock, stating "To BATH 12" 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Driving directions to A350". Google. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  2. ^ 1922 road list
  3. ^ 1948 Ordnance Survey map
  4. ^ a b "The Westbury bypass - History". Wiltshire Council. Archived from the original on 11 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-09. [dead link]
  5. ^ "The Westbury bypass - Plan details and maps". Wiltshire Council. Archived from the original on 11 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-09. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Westbury Bypass Now". Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  7. ^ "Transport". Whiltshire CPRE. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  8. ^ "Bypass plan sparks demand for inquiry". planning resource. Retrieved 2009-05-10. [dead link]
  9. ^ "White Horse Alliance". White Horse Alliance. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  10. ^ "Bypass plan sparks demand for inquiry". Planning Resource. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  11. ^ "We help Westbury residents send strong message to Government". Retrieved 2009-05-10. 

External links[edit]