A Summary of the Letters of Objection and Support in 2005

Wiltshire County Council issued its first planning application for an Eastern Westbury Bypass in April 2005, during the run-up to the local and general elections at that time.  Road schemes are not normally consulted on during election periods.   WCC allowed only three weeks, until 6 May 2005, also coinciding with a holiday, for people to study the scheme and respond.   WCC notified it obscurely: a small ad lost in the back pages of one local newspaper and small notices on trees or posts out on the route (which is in open countryside).

The only significant publicity about what was going on came from voluntary environmental campaign groups.

WCC had 6 letters of support - and some 600 individual letters of objection to the eastern bypass scheme.

About three-quarters of these letters were from Westbury and the surrounding West Wiltshire villages.

There were also some 200 identical undated petition forms of support for 'a bypass'.   Names & addresses for these were collected, by accosting passers-by or by door-stepping people at their homes, not allowing them to think it out for themelves.   There have subsequently been complaints about residents having been misled by these cold-callers.  Few of these petition forms were date-stamped as having been received by WCC.  This petition was fundamentally an exercise to drum-up apparent numbers for the eastern bypass scheme, as if to rival the genuine large quantity of local people who had independently written real letters against it.  Names on similar petition forms were collected over several months throughout the year, well outside of the relevant three-week response periods for everyone else, though these forms were later represented as if equivalent.

A re-advertisement of the same planning application by the County Council in July (another holiday period) because the Eastern Bypass scheme was after all not in the District Plan, drew over 160 further genuine letters of objection, all date-stamped in the period, three-quarters of which were from the Westbury area.

The County Council's third advertisement, ending in December 2005, was specifically for comment on the additional environmental information which was released at that time.   There were seven relevant letters, five of objection to the bypass scheme, from such as the Environment Agency and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

Even allowing for so-called 'bypass support' which was unethically collected from the indifferent or misled, overwhelmingly the relevant response in 2005 was consistently against the so-wrong eastern bypass route.

Wiltshire County Council had been trying to wear us down by re-issuing the same scheme, whilst constantly telling the public that it was 'eastern bypass or nothing', aiming for acceptance of traffic relief by any means.

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