Catalogue ReferenceD/EX2476
TitleRecords of the Newbury Bypass Supporters' Assocation
Description[Records collected by Gordon Rollinson, active member and spokesperson for the Newbury Bypass Supporters’ Assocation.]
Date1979-2006
RepositoryBerkshire Record Office (code: GB 005)
LevelFonds
Extent104 bdls, 36 docs, 13 files, 3 vols, 1 item
Admin HistoryThe A34 Newbury Bypass was a controversial road scheme which faced fierce opposition from some local residents and environmentalists. The proposed western bypass route ran through sites of significant scientific and historic interest and it was discovered that some areas affected were home to a rare snail, known as Desmoulin’s Whorl Snail. However, supporters argued that the road scheme was the most cost effective and environmentally friendly proposal to alleviate traffic congestion in Newbury.

A bypass had been considered from 1936 but it was not until 1979 that the Department of Transport (DoT) appointed consultants to investigate solutions to the traffic problem. The DoT published their proposal for a bypass with a western route in June 1984. The Newbury Bypass Supporters’ Association (NBSA) was then formed in 1985 to lobby in support of the published route.

The bypass was debated for many years with two lengthy Public Inquiries in 1988 and 1992. The opposing campaign was initially fought by the Society for the Prevention of a Western Bypass (SPEWBY), which proposed an alternative eastern route at the Public Inquiry in 1988. However, the inspector ruled in favour of the DoT’s road scheme and recommended the plans to the Secretary of State. The main opposition at the 1992 Public Inquiry was the National Trust who disputed a Compulsive Purchase Order on land they owned adjacent to The Chase, Woolton Hill, Hampshire. The opposition was unsuccessful and the road scheme was again recommended.

After the final Public Inquiry the bypass continued to face opposition. The main protest group, formed in February 1994, adopted the name the Third Battle of Newbury. In the summer of 1994 they set up protest camps along the bypass route to prevent construction workers from building on the site. Some protests resulted in campaigners being arrested and some were even sent to prison.

In December 1994 the Secretary of State for Transport, Dr Brian Mawhinney MP, took the largely unexpected decision to delay work on the bypass pending a 12-month review following a private visit to the site.

After multiple delays and set-backs, in 1995 the NBSA became part of the Newbury Bypass (Now) Forum, a body which was formed with the objective of getting the bypass opened as soon as possible. The forum was comprised of representatives for councils, major employers, local residents and other concerned parties with meetings chaired by local Members of Parliament.

After fierce campaigning on both sides, in 1996 the protesters were evicted from the site and work commenced on the main contract. The road opened to traffic in 1998.
AcquisitionPresented in February 2015 (acc. 9584)
ArrangementArrangement of the catalogue

D/EX2476/1 Administration

D/EX2476/2 Campaign material and publicity

D/EX2476/3 Publications and reports

D/EX2476/4 Research

D/EX2476/5 Public Inquiry papers

D/EX2476/6 Correspondence

D/EX2476/7 Maps, plans and drawings

D/EX2476/8 Photographs

D/EX2476/9 Miscellaneous
Related Material[For a detailed history of the A34 Newbury bypass see D/EX2476/3/1/1. For records of the Newbury Bypass Protest Campaign, see D/EX2473.]
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