Our parish council is supporting this because Broadwindsor is one of the villages that becomes gridlocked when there are accidents on the A35. This group has asked for this letter to be featured on community websites and parish magazines. It’s probably too long for our magazine, but here it is for your perusal:
Dear Sir / Madam
Have you ever been caught in one of the regular traffic jams on the A35 in the vicinity of Chideock arising from traffic incidents or accidents? Or do you live in one of the villages that become gridlocked while motorists try and get out of the inevitable traffic jams that follow?
We are the Chideock Bypass Working Group (CBG) and we are reaching out to all parish councils, district councils and town councils in the area to express our position on a possible bypass for our village and to gather your feedback and your opinion on this matter.
The CBWG is a group of registered electors in the parish of Chideock. It was formed in November 2016 at the instigation of the constituency MP Sir Oliver Letwin (OL) and with the support (at that time) of the Chideock Parish Council (CPC). Its main purpose then was to initiate a village survey to test village opinion for a bypass. This was organised by the CBWG in March 2017 when a questionnaire was delivered to every household in Chideock. The result from the 223 participants was that 80% were in favour of a bypass within the parish boundary (approximately on the route of the cancelled 1990’s bypass).
There have been several village surveys and polls over the years attempting to determine the support amongst the village residents for a bypass. They have all been conducted in good faith and have always returned a significant proportion of those that participated in favour of a bypass.
We are firmly of the opinion that a bypass is the only practical solution to the problems of safety; air pollution; traffic congestion; noise and vibration arising from the traffic through the village (particularly the ever increasing volume and size of HGVs) and the negative impact on the local economy from the traffic congestion detracting from tourism and making business travel longer and more costly.
The last village poll (held in August 2017) returned 78% of those participating to be in favour of a Chideock bypass, albeit that the wording of the question specified that the bypass should be located outside of our parish. We believe that in the absence of an alternative route question this was simply interpreted as being for a bypass anywhere! We continue to argue against a route outside of our parish. We consider that proposal to be wrong for three major reasons:
- A Chideock only bypass is our problem and is for us to resolve within our own boundary. It is slightly immoral to expect our problem to be passed onto our neighbours.
- The additional time required for liaison with neighbouring parishes followed by rounds of public inquiries and consultations are likely to delay any bypass for years, possibly even render it totally impossible.
- Any route outside of our boundary will be considerably longer than a bypass within our parish making the construction costs higher. Therefore returns on investment will be less also making the cost benefit analysis less attractive (or perhaps non-existent)
There is a body of thought that one of the ways of dealing with the problem is by introducing a Low Emission Zone (LEZ) for Chideock. While this can be seen as a well-meaning and environmentally friendly solution we believe that it is both naïve and impractical. This will add monetary cost and time to all those whose vehicles do not comply. We attach a copy of a report – CBPWG LEZ Report FINAL Main – prepared by our group raising a number of very serious consequences of an LEZ which we are certain have not been fully considered by many people. We urge you to read this report and make your own minds up on the practicality of an LEZ for Chideock.
We ask you to seriously consider our situation, to investigate our proposals further through our website www.chideockbypass.co.uk and if you are in favour of a Chideock bypass to support our Government petition either via the homepage of our website or directly via https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/202521
We also ask you to publish a copy of this letter on your community website and in the next available edition of your parish magazine so that as many of your parishioners as possible may see our arguments and our position on a bypass for Chideock.
We thank you for taking the time to consider all this and hope that you may find time to respond to us with your comments, and hopefully your support.