To meet the extra housing needs of an expanding population in the next 20 years, an additional 11,000 to 12,500 new homes are to be built around the villages of Bratton
in West Wiltshire. The population of the new town will rise to approximately 30,000 by 2026, so making it comparable in size with Trowbridge today.
Access to Bent (as the new town will be called) will be off the Westbury bypass, currently in the planning stage. A flying junction just below White Horse Hill will lead to a 3 mile access road running along the valley just to the North of Salisbury plain. Terraced housing on the edge of the the plain will allow maximum housing density to be achieved while at the same time giving most new residents spectacular views across the valley of the Avon and up towards Pewsey Vale. Rail access will be at nearby Westbury station, although if the population growth exceeds expectations, it's possible that the Department for Transport could approve the reopening of Edington Station with a limited London commuter service from 2021. This would need additional financial support from the County Council.
Schooling for primary children will be in the town, with secondary children travelling by bus to their parent's choice of Melksham, Trowbridge or Warminster. Medical facilities are already available nearby in major hospitals at Bath, Salisbury and Swindon, and a new doctor's surgery will be included in the plans for Bent. Good shopping facilities are available at Trowbridge, to be supplemented by a convenience store, a hairdresser and a selection of take aways in Bent itself. Jobs will be at Swindon, Chippenham, Melksham, Trowbridge and Warminster; it's anticipated that there will be little new employment offered within Bent itself, as it's not historically an area of high employment apart from in agriculture, and planning applications for major factory units may not be acceptable to the local population.
In 1821, one in every 100 people in Wiltshire lived in the Bratton and Edington area, but that dropped by 2001 to just one in 350. These proposals for Bent will help restore that historic balance and more and put Bratton and Edington back on the map.
Pictures - Edington Church
, a development in nearby Trowbridge by Newland Homes
and Bratton camp on Westbury Hill
Please note - the above is just a speculation based on what could well happen.
Have you ever wondered at some of the posh-sounding documents and plans that you hear about ... often they seem so abstract until you start coming down to detail. The "Regional Spatial Strategy" is one such, and I've got involved with some very limited elements of it because of the work I've been doing on the Melksham train service.
The RSS calls for 15,500 new homes in West Wiltshire in the next 20 years to handle an increase in population, and places 5000 in Trowbridge - the rest at the discretion of the local District Council. There's also a suggestion that the draft RSS figures are low and will increase by around 25% across the board. Now - they could (and probably will) have Melksham, Westbury and Warminster each grow by 4000 homes - that's around 10,000 people based on current household sizes - or they could go for something like the plan described above. Employment, housing type, schools, hospital and access suggested in my spoof proposal are based on my understanding of current planning, practise and trends.
Update - 3rd December
The Westbury Bypass campaign people have picked up this spoof page and referenced it from their Westbury Eastern Bypass Proposal
page. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm flattered.
Update - July 2008
See my report on Westbury Bypass Enquiry - the evening for the general public to have their say
I was also amused (and reminded of this article) last weekend when I came across Bent Street (genuine sign) in Nether Wallop (genuine place name!) (written 2006-11-23, updated 2010-08-15)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesM202 - Well House Manor - West Wiltshire 
Walking by the wiver - (2012-05-06) 
Swindon to Trowbridge - transport and travel options - (2012-03-06) 
Which West Wilts Town? A picture quiz for you - (2011-10-28) 
West Wilts Rail User Group - Walk yesterday from Bradford-on-Avon to Trowbridge - (2011-10-23) 
Images of a Spring Walk - (2011-03-27) 
Sunny day - Clanger and Picket Woods, Shearwater, and Westbury - (2011-03-06) 
Atworth Village Fete - on the Melksham Community Area Partnership stand - (2010-07-04) 
Old trackways and routes near Melksham - (2010-04-05) 
Blowing out the winter cobwebs - (2010-03-14) 
Hot Tap at West Wilts Show - (2009-07-26) 
See us at the West Wilts Show - (2009-07-23) 
Trowbridge - a missed opportunity? Melksham - into the breach? - (2009-06-08) 
Riverside Development - (2009-04-26) 
Patterns in street names - (2009-04-17) 
Seend, near Melksham, Wiltshire - (2008-10-11) 
At the Westbury Bypass Enquiry - (2008-07-15) 
Businesses in West Wiltshire - networking - (2008-03-20) 
Westbury Bypass - how it would effect Melksham - (2007-06-29) 
As I came back from Tesco - (2007-04-19) 
Dilton Marsh - (2007-03-08) 
Hotel for Trowbridge - (2007-01-12) 
Presenting Melksham - for a weekend away in Wiltshire - (2006-11-17) 
Celebration circles - (2006-09-27) 
Dramatic Skys at Longleat - (2006-08-22) 
Computers, Brides and Cream Teas - (2006-08-20) 
Melksham Railway Calendar 2007 - (2006-07-25) 
Minimal Signage - (2006-07-23) 
The Courts, Holt - (2006-07-16) 
Pictures from my travels - (2006-05-07)
Some other Articles
Index of PicturesSnaggingWinter at Well House Manor - Open HousesSwipe cards for hotel rooms - Security issuesBratton and Edington new town, WiltshireDisplay an image from a MySQL database in a web page via PHPGlobal, Superglobal, Session variables - scope and persistance in PHPAutumn leaves in Wiltshire - PotterneClustering, load balancing, mod_rewrite and mod_proxyCourse Joining package - updated