Wiltshire Publications

Campaigners back on the horse after Westbury bypass plans resurface

A White Horse Alliance demonstration near the proposed bypass route

A White Horse Alliance demonstration near the proposed bypass route

WESTBURY’S White Horse Alliance has rallied again after discovering that Wiltshire Council is still exploring the possibility of an A350 eastern bypass round Westbury.

The original bypass plan was rejected in 2009 because the inspector deemed the benefits too few to outweigh the environmental impact.

However, the safeguarding of the area has been revoked and the council still has the road mentioned in their Core Strategy for 2026.

The White Horse Alliance is now campaigning to have the area designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), as a northern extension of the current Cranborne Chase area. They are calling on Westbury’s MP Andrew Murrison to support their proposal.

Andrew Murrison MP said, “I believe Westbury needs a bypass but am against the A350 being re-routed to the east of the town. AONBs are determined by Natural England, so I’ve written to them with the views expressed and asked for a response. ”

If given AONB status, the landscape surrounding the Westbury White Horse would have strict planning controls to preserve the area.

The alliance’s proposal voices its concerns about the route’s proximity to the springs in the Wellhead Valley, and it cutting through the White Horse Country Park.

They claim that as well as being a popular tourist destination, the area is also habitat to rare dormice and a protected species of bat.

The White Horse Alliance’s campaign to get the area granted AONB status is supported by Westbury Town Council and Area Board as well as several parish councils. But, Wiltshire Council has declined to support the application.  The WHA believes the only explanation for this resistance must be that the council is afraid AONB status would stop it building an eastern bypass between the town and the edge of Salisbury Plain.

Patrick Kinnersley, secretary of the White Horse Alliance said, “We know that Wiltshire Council will be lobbying hard for the £1million they need to match the million pounds of local money they have committed to the study.

“This disastrously misguided plan has already cost council taxpayers the best part of £5million. There are no prizes for guessing which route the council will want consultants to recommend.”

The White Horse Alliance is a group of 13 national and local groups fighting Wiltshire Council’s plans to revive the project for an eastern bypass of Westbury.

Visit www.corridor-alliance.co.uk to find out more.