Plans to link Thamesdown Drive with Great Western Way via a new road could move a step closer if work to secure funding for the next phase of the project is successful.
This comes after the hard fought campaign by TDEX, the consortium of community groups and residents’ associations across North and West Swindon who have been calling for it to be built.
Officers from Swindon Borough Council are now working with the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) on a bid to cover the costs of the next phase of the proposed scheme.
The bid will request £1.27 million from the Department of Transport’s Large Local Schemes Fund in order to pay for a detailed design, all the environmental surveys, and the preparation of both a planning application and business case.
If successful, a further bid would be submitted to the Government for full funding support in 2019. It is estimated that the cost of the Thamesdown Drive to Barnfield Link would be in the region of £44 million.
The bid for funding forms part of the council’s Pledge 4 to “make a case to government to invest in a Thamesdown Drive extension”.
The new road would alleviate significant congestion during morning and evening peak periods along Akers Way and Mead Way and discourage drivers from rat-running through residential areas in order to by-pass the congested routes.
Future development at nearby Tadpole Farm and Ridgeway Farm is also likely to increase traffic levels in the area over the coming years.
The Swindon Transport Strategy forecasts that demand on the borough’s highway network will increase by 48 per cent by 2026 as a direct result of the 22,000 new homes that will be constructed in Swindon over the next 10 years.
The bid for the £1.27 million funding, which forms part of the Swindon Local Transport Plan and is being discussed by Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet on 16 June has to be submitted to the Department of Transport by 21 July. The council and SWLEP will find out if the bid has been successful in the autumn.
Cllr Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability, Highways and Transport, said: “The Thamesdown Drive to Great Western Way link road is one of Swindon’s great unsolved challenges of the last 30 years. A lot of work has taken place over the last two years to complete the first stage, the Outline Business Case, and for the first time we have a clear route to securing the £44 million from the Government.
“This is a critical moment because if the Government says no to our bid then it’s unlikely anything else will happen for another ten years. But, if our £1.27 million bid is successful, then it will cover the full cost of the second stage and mean Swindon Council can complete all the necessary Environmental, Ecological and Topographical Surveys, detailed design work for the road and submit the planning application in 2019.”