|Location Map ( geo)|
Westbury is a bustling market town lying between Trowbridge and Warminster in Wiltshire. Such is the growth of the three towns, particularly with a large industrial area north of Westbury, that the intervening villages have almost been absorbed into a single large urban area. There is certainly not much of a feel of open farmland as you pass between them. Westbury itself has long been a bottleneck on the busy A350 route, but despite plans for a bypass having been discussed for over 20 years, such a project seems no further forward.
The main road though the town is the A350, running north south from Trowbridge to Warminster and beyond. It doglegs round the town centre, twice TOTSOing at mini roundabouts. At the first junction it meets the B3097, which serves the industrial area to the north, before reaching the A363 on the edge of Trowbridge. At the second junction, it meets the B3098, which heads east through Bratton and on to Salisbury Plain.
A little further south, the A3098 turns right at a rather non-descript T-junction. This route, once the western end of the B3098, passes through Westbury Leigh, and continues to Frome. The route through Westbury Leigh was substantially changed in the early 2000s, being re-routed along a new distributor route, designed to serve the new housing developments, and so featuring a series of six roundabouts; the old road closed up at the western end to prevent rat-running. At the last of the roundabouts, the B3099 heads west through Dilton Marsh to reach the A36.
Westbury has seen many plans put forward for a new bypass, most being highly controversial. Between 1997 and 2008 Wiltshire Council slowly progressed an eastern bypass route, before it was thrown out by the Government. It would have seen a new road constructed through or close to highly sensitive areas from both an environmental and aesthetic point of view. A western route, passing through the industrial areas was rejected due to the need for several railway bridges adding to the cost, and some of the possible route has now been built on, preventing the road being built close to the town on the west side.
Although there are still active local campaigns in the town for a bypass, there are still major differences of opinion as to whether an easterly or westerly route is better, and there are also a substantial number against any new road building. Despite the A350 being an important primary route, carrying strategic traffic south to the harbours at Poole and Weymouth, not to mention tourist traffic to Dorset, further improvements to the route are not seen as of high importance nationally, meaning that both the Westbury Bypass and other bottlenecks in Dorset have fallen off the agenda under the current reduced budgets that councils are working with.
|Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge (A363)|
|Hawkeridge, (M4), Chippenham, Warminster (A350), Frome (A361)|