THE Avon Valley will be destroyed if a £75m link road around Chippenham is given the green light, according to a former councillor in the town.

Opinion has been split about a bid for a ring road around the east of the town, to make way for new housing and infrastructure and promises of a rejuvenation. If given the green light, it could be built in the next six years and lead the way for 7,500 new homes.

Chris Caswill was a Monkton councillor for 10 years, and has spent years campaigning to protect the East of Chippenham from urban sprawl. He said: “The road to the east would effectively destroy the Avon Valley and the green space between Chippenham and Calne and the Avon valley villages of Tytherton Lucas, East Tytherton and Bremhill.

“These millions of public money would be a huge public subsidy, from our taxes, to the developers who would otherwise have to pay for the cost of these roads, in that way bumping up their profits at our expense.

“This plan for massive road building is the first big announcement by Wiltshire and Chippenham Councils since they both declared climate emergencies. A perverse moment to be investing in more roads with the inevitable increases carbon emissions.”

The move has had a mixed response from the public. Chippenham man Geoff Endacott said: “The council has just declared a climate emergency. How many more roads do they want to build?”

But some back the idea, saying that daily traffic already blights their morning commute. Nicola Beale from Cepen Park North said: “Having read the plans, I applaud the idea of developing the road network round the town. I have seen the amount of traffic on the A350 swell, so that getting out is tricky. I already dread the extra traffic from the new housing developments.

“Lorries might need encouraging to take the new route, as they tend to go for the shortest.

“Of perhaps greater interest, is the cycle access to the town centre. That would reduce the traffic enormously, if we had safe, linked cycle routes from all housing developments. Dedicated cycle paths as in Holland and Germany are essential to encourage families and commuters to use them.”

Kathryn Crosweller from Chippenham BID said investment into the town is a good sign. “Chippenham has a huge amount of potential, and is also in need of investment to revive certain areas. Once infrastructure is in place development follows much more easily, and we hope to see some of that investment being directed towards the town centre once construction is complete.”

Wiltshire Council called the bid bold and transformational. It will announce if it has been successful in December.