The Newbury Bypass

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  • Created by: chowmein
  • Created on: 07-05-13 17:51

1.       The Newbury Bypass is a stretch of dual carriageway officially known as the Winchester-Preston Trunk Road (A34). It is located west of the town of Newbury and is 9 miles long; it goes round the centre of the town. Between January and April 1996 360 acres of land was cleared for building, this included 120 acres of woodland on which 10,000 mature trees stood. Over 800 arrests were made when about 7,000 anti-road protesters took to the site.

 

The bypass was built to relieve pressure from the pre-existing bypass built in 1963. This worked up until the 1980s when huge amounts of traffic was thrust upon the road as a result of greatly increased car ownership and development in the surrounding area.

 

There was a massive conflict over the bypass because there are three sites of special scientific interest along the stretch of land. Along with this, the National Trust reserve of The Chase and the Wessex Downs as well as a certified 1643 battlefield from the civil war were also due to be trampled over. Wildlife enthusiasts were also concerned about a rare snail named “Desmoulin’s Whorl” lived on the site too.

 

Many environmentalists were involved in the protests including a charismatic man called Swampy. Despite most being in favour of the bypass, some local residents protested among the crowds of conservation groups and local businesses. These people set up camps on the site as well as digging underground tunnels in an attempt to make them cave in when heavy machinery drove over them. Others made small tree houses called “twigloos” while some made tents out of hazel. Evictions from the camp began in 1996 but more and more camps got set up. In February 1996 5000 people marched in protest. Although most protesters were evicted Swampy became a media celebrity. To police the protests £5 million had to be spent.

 

The snails were moved to a new site but this

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