As someone who has lived locally for 34 years I would like to give an opinion on the proposals for the new bypasses for Winterbourne Stoke.
Firstly can I agree with the decision to take action on implementing the long-promised bypass, and the proposal for a tunnel under Stonehenge which seems to meet with a general consensus.
I would also like to express an opinion in favour of the Northern route for the bypass.
Our home is in the valley settlement between Berwick St. James and the 303 at Winterbourne Stoke. Our hamlet used to be called”Over the Hill” by local people in Berwick and it has the same postal address and telephone prefix as Berwick. Thus our locality identifies with Berwick as opposed to Winterbourne Stoke.
Your leaflet declares that your intention is to improve life for local communities. The Southern route would have a detrimental effect on any sense of community we have and isolate us.I realise that this is a small point, but I am expressing my opinion.
I am much more concerned over the impact of the dual carriageway you are proposing through the field between our hamlet and Berwick.
As I look at the pictorial representation of the impact on the landscape on page 46 of the leaflet I would question why you have chosen to take montage from one side of the road and not the other: our side where there would be immense impact, in my view. This picture gives an impression that the proposed dual carriageway as it enters the viaduct will be a mere shadow on the horizon. Viewed from the other side of the hill, where our habitation sits, we must be facing a stonking great dual carriageway bestriding the countryside and dominating the landscape. For no dual carriageway comes without space for a crash barrier in the middle and hard shoulders at each side, thus taking up no mean width of land.
Thus I would question your assertion that you are minimising the effect on the local community by implementing the Southern route.
There is research on the higher incidence of Dementia in people who live close to major traffic routes: I would wonder if you have considered this aspect of effect as you seem to favour the Southern route which impacts a large amount of people in Winterbourne Stoke and Berwick, compared to the sparse population who would be affected by the Northern route.
The same argument goes for the pollution from a large amount of traffic travelling through our midst: chest problems would be exacerbated and the noise levels from a raised road as it goes toward the viaduct would be more noticeable than we have at present from the 303 on the other side. I could touch on the possibility of litter on our rural landscape -we already have plenty on our 3083 and the 303 at present is blighted.
I trust that the opinions expressed so far have countered the idea that the Southern bypass would “ minimise the effect on the landscape, nearby people and property”.
I would like to say, in response to the comments on the varying detrimental effects on habitats and ancient architectural sites, that both Northern and Southern bypasses will invade pretty well equal portions of both. We have a lovely rural landscape with abundance of wildlife: on walking in the locality we see herons and egrets, red kites breed successfully, owls hunt nightly and hares breed in the higher field . Deer occasionally are spotted and plenty of pheasants and partridge abound.
All around Stonehenge there are historic sites; we come to a point in rational thinking where we seem to confuse the rights of the living in our landscape with those of the long dead.
Finally I would point out in reply to the posit that building the Northern bypass would entail closing sections of the 303 and inconveniencing travellers during construction of the new road. Anyone who drives along the present 303 is well-practised in coping with diversions, delays and indeed I believe that the M3 has been closed to traffic overnight at weekends for quite some time now because of construction. I believe that if drivers know that there is a permanent improvement at the end of their temporary delay they will be stoical.
Wherever this bypass is built it will be the cause of distress for some and profit for others. I would like to think that, before these routes were decided on, local people had been consulted. I appreciate that on just regarding details on a map these routes have been chosen academically. But as I read the leaflets I am concerned that there already seems to be a bias in favour of the Southern Bypass. I trust that i have given reason enough to show that for many of us in Berwick St James and Winterbourne Stoke this is not the case and for us the Northern Bypass offers less trauma and to fewer people.