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gridlock! Anger as Westbury faces four weeks of A350 road closures – just in time for the Festival!

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LOCAL businesses and councillors have said they are appalled that  they were not told about planned closures of the A350, the main road through Westbury, in three phases over a four-week period starting on Friday 13th September, to allow Wiltshire Council to carry out resurfacing works.

They say that they have only just found out about the plans on Wiltshire Council’s website and businesses fear that the road closures will have an adverse impact on trade and discourage visitors to the town. 

The road closures will take place during the annual Westbury Festival, which attracts visitors from the local area and further afield.

Wiltshire Council has made an order to close temporarily to all traffic along the A350 in three consecutive phases. The closures are to enable Tarmac to carry out carriageway resurfacing, patching works, road marking and adjustment of ironworks.

 Deputy mayor of Westbury cllr Sheila Kimmins said, “The notice for this works is on the Wiltshire Council website, but how many shopkeepers, residents or organisations are checking the website each week to see which roads are closed? None. They should really have informed them before now, perhaps they should have put something in the newspaper?

“It will have a severe impact on businesses in the town. At some stage during the works there will be no access to Aldi, the commissions board, Leighton Sports Centre, the High Street, Chalford House or the Market Place amongst many others.

“We understand why they have to do it as the problems along West End have been continually patched up and major operations are needed to sort out the underground sewage pipes, but it’s terrible that the town council has only  just found out themselves about the works. 

“Plus they are going on for such a long time, four weeks will cause a huge disruption and cause major diversions and making other areas in the town become rat runs, Oldfield Park and Mane Way for example.”

Vanessa Bailey, shopkeeper at The Woollery on Warminster Road said,  “What are we, as businesses, supposed to do?  It is hard enough to get people into the town as it is. The car park on Warminster Road will lose money too and those who park their cars there with a permit will have to find alternative parking. It is all very short notice and I’m simply appalled that we weren’t told sooner.” 

Chris Longworth at CardsPlus in the High Street said, “If people are not able to get into the High Street, what are we going to do about earning money? Will the council give us compensation for what we lose in custom?”

As final preparations are being made for the popular Westbury Festival, Ian Cunningham, chair of the festival committee said, “This isn’t good news. We are concerned about the impact the works will have on the festival. 

“Ultimately, the works are a consequence of the excessive amount of heavy traffic along these roads into the town centre. We accept the works need to be done but the easy solution is to stop large vehicles using this A-road, a road that isn’t the normal quality of an A-road. Westbury is the only significant community settlement along the A350 not to have a strategic road for this type of traffic. 

“However, the festival will be open as usual and all events will still take place.”

The three phases are: • Phase one will see the closure of A350 Trowbridge Road (Part), Westbury; from its junction with Bitham Park to its junction with West End; A350 West End, Westbury; from its junction with A350 Trowbridge Road to its junction with A350 Haynes Road. • Phase 2 will see A350 Haynes Road, Westbury; from its junction with A350 West End to its junction with A350 Warminster Road closed. • Phase 3 will see A350 Warminster Road, Westbury; from its junction with A350 Haynes Road to its junction with Laverton Road closed.

A public meeting has been arranged with a representative from Wiltshire Council with the consultant and contractor on Monday 19th August from 2pm-4.30pm for questions regarding the works at the Laverton. 

A second meeting, at the beginning of the town council’s highways, planning and development meeting will take place on the same day at 7pm at the Laverton, where a highways officer will be giving a short presentation.

A spokesperson for Wiltshire Council said, “The closures will be phased, we are currently making the final preparations to the phasing order and working windows, there will be local diversions around the town for light vehicles, however due to the weight restrictions HGV vehicles will have to travel via the A36.

 “Access will be maintained as far as possible for businesses and residents but there may be times when access is not possible due to the depth of excavations, and the ongoing working operations.

“The High Street will have access for as long as we can maintain it as it is a one-way system with residents and businesses having no alternative access to their properties there may be a few hours where access is not possible, we are looking at the hours to do this phase.”

An alternative route has been provided and as follows: via A350 (unaffected length) – A36 – A361 – Wynsome Street – Goose Street – Bradley Road – Southwick Road – Westbury Road – A363 and vice versa.

The notice states that, “The closure and diversion route will be clearly indicated by traffic signs. This order will come into operation on 13 September 2019 and the closure will be required until 11 October 2019. These closures will be closed consecutively. 

“It is anticipated that the works will take the stated duration to complete depending upon weather conditions. Access will be maintained for residents and businesses where possible, although delays are likely due to the nature of the works. The Order will have a maximum duration of 18 months.”

Wiltshire Council have also been asked to drop letters to local traders, add additional information signage around the town, signage stating that businesses will be open as usual and assurances that no works will take place late at night or early in the morning. 

For further information about the works contact Simon Price (Atkins) on 01225 73038.

4 Responses to gridlock! Anger as Westbury faces four weeks of A350 road closures – just in time for the Festival!

  1. ms stroud

    August 13, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Good luck with notes being put through doors and no work taking place late at night or early morning – the council simply don`t care!!! As for the council allowing this work to be carried out during Westbury Festival – they probably did this on purpose.

  2. Maurice Bizeray

    August 14, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    Can the Council ask WCC why they wasted tax payers money over the last 4 months, doing repairs and white lining on the A350 from Westbury to Warminster to then go and cover it all in chippings. So no white lines at all now. Someone must be held accountable for this shambles.

  3. M Hillcoat

    August 14, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    The additional construction traffic that will trundle and thunder its way around Westbury when the incinerator work gets underway will undermine any repair work being done now. More air pollution – asthma – the Westbury Lung – what age are we living in?

  4. David

    August 14, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    I wasn’t aware Westbury was getting an investor ? I know we are getting a gasification plant, two completely different things !

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