CULTURE Secretary and local MP Michelle Donelan has welcomed the Government’s decision to list A350 improvements around Chippenham as a priority and accelerate the scheme.

The next phases of the A350 Chippenham improvements will be accelerated in the Government’s Growth Plan, backed by the Chippenham MP, and are likely to be built in 2024 and 2025.

She says the move will particularly help access to the Bumpers Farm Industrial Estate and businesses situated there with a new slip road to erase congestion and improve journey times.

Miss Donelan said: “Continuing to secure investment for our towns has been a priority for me since I first elected in 2015.

“We had already secured the funding, but this will mean the project happens quicker which is especially important to alleviate the pressure accessing Bumpers Farm.

“This is certainly a positive development, I will now continue to work with Wiltshire Council to ensure that we can use this priority listing to deliver the project as quickly as possible.

“Having long campaigned to secure additional funding for the road, it’s fantastic to have a project so important to our community right at the top of the agenda.”

Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Higways, said: "We're delighted that the government has highlighted the final phases of dualling the A350 at Chippenham as a priority.

"We are moving forward with the designs for the work at present, and are looking to start a public consultation for the scheme in late November until early February.

"We will then consider the feedback and incorporate it into the final business case that we will submit to the Department for Transport. The dualling of the A350 will increase capacity and reduce journey times on this important route."

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled the Government’s Growth Plan at a fiscal event last week, revealing a list of nationally significant infrastructure projects which will now be accelerated to help deliver economic growth.  

This will be achieved with new legislation and regulatory reform to streamline planning processes, allowing development and construction of the projects listed to be fast-tracked.  

The local MP will now contact Wiltshire Council to establish new timings for delivery of the project. No further land will be required for construction.

The A350 is one of the most important and primary north-south routes in Wiltshire with regional significance to connect the south coast with the M4 to Bristol and the Midlands.

Wiltshire Council said: “It has been a longstanding priority to improve north-south connectivity along the A350, and Wiltshire Council has been progressively bringing forward the dualling of the A350 Chippenham bypass.”

In the October 2021 spending review, the DfT announced it would allocate £26.625m for the scheme to dual the remaining single carriageway sections of the A350 route round Chippenham.

Subject to the full business case being approved by the DfT, it is anticipated that construction works on Phases 4 and 5 will take place during 2024 and 2025.

The key elements are:

  • Phase 4 dualling: widening the A350 to dual two-lane carriageways between Chequers Roundabout (A4) and Lackham roundabout. The dualling would take place within the existing wide highway verge to the west of the current carriageway;
  • Phase 5 dualling: widening the A350 to dual two-lane carriageways along the full stretch between Cepen Park South Roundabout and Bumpers Farm Roundabout (A420). The dualling would take place within the existing wide highway verge to the west of the current carriageway;
  • A significant remodelling of the Bumpers Farm roundabout junction to provide capacity enhancements and full signalisation; and
  • Alterations to the Lackham Roundabout capacity to accommodate the additional carriageway.