Bid for £75M improvements in Chippenham put forward to Government
Our bid is bold and transformational and will make a positive change to people's lives across Chippenham and the surrounding areasCllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council
Wiltshire Council has bid for £75 million of infrastructure funding from the Government to support the potential longer-term growth of Chippenham.
If successful, the funding will be used to build a new road to the east and south of Chippenham, linking the A350 at the northern and southern ends of the town, as well as carrying out specific improvement works at J17 on the M4.
People who live or travel through Chippenham are aware of the severe congestion that can take place every day, and this investment will help alleviate that and provide additional road capacity for Chippenham in the future.
A consequence of this will be the unlocking of development land that could deliver up to 7,500 new homes in Chippenham and 1 million sq ft of commercial space over the next 25 years without causing additional infrastructure problems. This increase in housing for Chippenham has been identified as one of the options being considered as part of the Local Plan review.
The feedback from recent public consultation events held in Chippenham showed that residents wanted the town to have the right infrastructure in place, including improved transport links such as the proposed new road, prior to any additional development taking place in and around the town centre.
Wiltshire Council and Chippenham Town Council have looked at ways to address these concerns, which includes the submission of this £75 million bid for infrastructure to Government which has been supported by Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership. If successful, this will enable both councils to deliver benefits to the local community in advance of any potential new housing developments taking place.
Further and additional benefits will include investment in Chippenham town centre and new facilities such as schools, health, open space, improved connectivity, including cycling and walking routes, and additional road capacity to meet the increasing levels of traffic using them both now and in the future.
Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: "These kinds of opportunities and funding levels don't happen very often, so it was important that a very strong case for funding was submitted. Our bid is bold and transformational and will make a positive change to people's lives across Chippenham and the surrounding areas.
"Some of Chippenham's infrastructure is already at capacity which causes problems for the residents every day of the week. This investment is essential not only to provide a sustainable network fit for the 21st century but also to enable growth both in employment and housing in Chippenham. Improvements will also include enhancement of the town centre and access to it, new community facilities and new public green space for the enjoyment of all Chippenham residents."
Cllr Sandie Webb, Leader of Chippenham Town Council, commented: "As the largest populated area in Wiltshire it is important that we focus on helping both our residents and community to flourish. I am excited by the opportunities that this funding would bring together with the long-term benefits to the town and look forward to a positive announcement."
Michelle Donelan MP, added: "As Chippenham's MP my main priority is to make the lives of local residents better. I have listened to the key asks of residents and this bid can fulfil them. I fully support the £75 million bid on the understanding that the Council has pledged to use the money for a multi-story car park, more and better leisure facilities including an improved or new leisure centre and an area reserved for entertainment facilities. In addition, that there are significant improvements to traffic flow and congestion and that enough money is used to ensure education and health facilities will be expanded to cope with the growth of the town.
"The plans must also increase the sense of community and preserve our town centre as well as enabling more active lifestyles with cycling, walking and green spaces kept at the heart of the plans. This bid will enable Chippenham to be the town that residents have asked for and I shall continue to work with the government and council to help secure this money."
It is anticipated the Government will announce successful bids by the end of December 2019.