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Recent updates

  • Article: Oct 21, 2019
    By LGA

    The Local Government Association and The Daily Telegraph report that the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has been named Britain's best stargazing spot, after being recognised as an official dark sky reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). The IDA recognises areas which have "exceptionally starry skies," and this is the first time a full area in the UK has been granted the status. The managers of Cranborne Chase spent more than a decade working to meet the criteria required, working with residents, councils, highway departments, businesses and schools to ensure outdoor light was only used "when it is strictly needed." The area's director, Linda Nunn, noted that Wiltshire Council, which administers two-thirds of the area, "has already agreed to upgrade its street lighting" to help.

  • Article: Oct 17, 2019
    By WC (edited)

    A milestone has been reached on the Farmers Roundabout scheme in Melksham, with the new traffic signals now activated.

    The work, which began in February, has been carried out by contractors Dyer & Butler, and this marks the beginning of the final phase of work.

    Engineers will be monitoring, testing and refining the traffic signals over the next few weeks, and the team will be focussing on the final outstanding elements of work.

  • Article: Oct 11, 2019

    On 10 October 2019, Dyson announced its Board's decision to close the project as it's not commercially viable. Wiltshire Council is now looking to help cover the consequences of that decision.

    Dyson will continue its £2.5bn investment programme, continuing to expand at Malmesbury and Hullavington, concentrating on manufacturing solid state batteries and other technologies.

    The company has said it has 'exciting plans' for Hullavington which it will outline in due course.

    As the site was bought primarily for automotive development (requiring extensive test tracks) it'll be interesting to see what those are.

    Wiltshire Council worked closely with Dyson to secure their further development at Malmesbury, when there was a threat to move activity elsewhere. As part of that development WC built a new roundabout on the A429 using LEP funding. WC also helped to initiate the electric car project by finding Government investment, helping to secure Hullavington by negotiations with the MoD, and working on a masterplan for the site.

    This has involved considerable officer support, with an account manager and senior planner leading the engagement.

    Despite the subsidies from local and national taxpayers, WC were not informed of the decision beforehand, though the company have committed to engage 'in the near future'.

    WC has offered 'task force' support should any redundancies follow, to help match skilled people to known demand from other employers (as was done with Cooper Tires, and Honda).

    Dyson are keen to emphasise that Hullavington is an important R&D site for the company and has a bright future, and that the Home business has the capacity to absorb most of the automotive staff.

  • Article: Oct 11, 2019

    Following the recent resignation of Roy While (Melksham Without South), Deborah Halik (Trowbridge Lambrok) has also quit. The by-election will be the fifth to be held in West Wiltshire this year.

  • Article: Oct 9, 2019
    By WC (edited)

    Visitors can fill up their bottles with water at County Hall in Trowbridge.

    Wessex Water has provided the tap, which is directly linked to the WC plumbing, as part of the partnership bid to encourage people to avoid single-use plastics and promote hydration. Installation of the tap has taken many months.

  • Article: Oct 7, 2019
    By Trevor Carbin

    Senior councillors and officers met on Monday (Oct 7) to consider a report on the problems the council could face on November 1st. The report is being kept strictly confidential, and is immune to Freedom of Information requests. Previous information though suggests the county could be faced with problems in the fields of education and social care in particular, with the added possibility of temporary disruption to food and fuel supplies. Longer term increases in costs could cause particular problems for more vulnerable members of society.

  • Article: Oct 3, 2019
    By Trevor Carbin

    Here's more detail on the research by Friends of the Earth referred to below. They say

    The Wiltshire area's performance on climate change is better than most compared to similar local authority areas. But Wiltshire Council's consistent support for climate-wrecking road schemes and their opposition to wind farms demonstrates that even the better scoring local authorities need to do much better if climate catastrophe is to be averted. Wiltshire also needs to do much better on increasing the use of public transport, cycling, and walking.

  • Article: Sep 29, 2019

    Recommendations to exempt cars from being charged to drive in the proposed CAZ in Bath were previously agreed by Bath and North East Somerset councillors.

    So as of the end of 2020 charges will apply to lorries, buses, taxis and vans unless their exhaust emissions are clean enough to be exempted.

    'Vans' includes pick-ups, some 4x4s, campervans, motorhomes and horse boxes.

  • Article: Sep 26, 2019
    By WC (edited)

    Wiltshire Council's Conservative administration has slapped charges back onto the park and ride service in Salisbury. This is because they think the support for the city following Novichok is no longer needed.

    From Monday 30 September, the five park and ride sites - Beehive, Britford, London Road, Petersfinger and Wilton - will no longer be free. Until Saturday 2 November they'll be half price (£1.50 return per person), then from Monday 4 November it's back to the usual price of £3 return per person.

  • Article: Sep 25, 2019
    By WC

    Wiltshire Council has relaunched the Connecting Wiltshire website to give people transport information that is simple to find, understand and use.

    The refreshed site, which has been updated and improved, is designed to help people find ways to travel that save time and money, while also improving their personal wellbeing and the environment.