After years of delays, motorists have finally been able to drive down the Hilperton Relief Road which finally opened this week.
There has been much anticipation over when it would actually open after several dates had been thrown around by Wiltshire Council in recent weeks.
But on Wednesday afternoon, representatives from Persimmon and Wiltshire Council along with locals gathered at the site for a ribbon cut ceremony to celebrate the landmark opening.
Peter Kenny who has been the project manager for the Hilperton Relief Road for Persimmon said: “It is very good news and it is great for the village of Hilperton who have to put up with very big lorries going through their little village and I am sure they will be over the moon by the road opening.
“It is well over 10 years since the plans have been in the making and it is part of the bigger picture of putting the relief road here which will improve the through traffic in the area."
“We have had a few hiccups along the way but they have been out of our control but nothing we couldn’t handle. We started properly last October and we have finished it within our time frame. It will be under maintenance control for a year to see how it functions and at the end of that time it will be officially belong to Wiltshire."
“All in all, people will always moan whatever you are doing with the road and we think it has gone very well."
“We have done our best to please everyone from dog walkers to drivers and to keep everyone informed.”
There had been much concern over the new road including the 50mph speed limit which locals are still worried about.
Catherine Warr, 78, who lives in Trowbridge Road with her husband Kenneth, 90, said: “I’m glad it is open at long last but I am apprehensive of the 50mph speed limit."
“We do not know whether it is a relief that it is open or a worry that people will be speeding down here which could potentially see a major incident."
“I think it has the potential to be dangerous because it is not wide enough but we are glad the traffic is shifting away from the village.”
Alan Harbour, 64 of The Knap said he is ecstatic the relief road is open and believes others will be too.
“It seems to have been going on for years but now it is opened I think it will be a fabulous thing,” he added.
“Hilperton is a very desired village to live in because it is pretty and quiet and now traffic is being guided away from travelling through then I think it will make it more desirable.”
Persimmon Homes constructed the road as part of the legal agreement for the east of Trowbridge housing development and was scheduled to take 40 weeks.
There has been strong opposition towards the plans from Hilperton Parish Council, Trowbridge Town Council, police, two nearby primary schools and the Paxcroft Mead Residents’ Association.
Wiltshire councillors Ernie Clark (Hilperton Division) and Steve Oldrieve (Trowbridge Paxcroft Division) called-in the speed limit decision at a meeting in July.
Cllr Oldrieve said: “For me, it is bitter sweet that it is open because I have been campaigning for it not to go ahead for years but I can appreciate for some people, it will be a relieve the traffic issues for Hilperton. I do believe, however, it is a huge price to pay for what we are losing.”
Cllr Clark added: “It has taken the uncertainty away of it not being open. I have had people email me today just an hour of it being open to say that they felt comfortable driving at 30 or 40mph so I can’t imagine how some lorries will be getting up to 50mph."
“I have to hope that it has the desired effect of keeping the traffic away from Hilperton and I just hope it is used safely with no accidents.”
Cllr Clark is now encouraging locals to attend a meeting on November 26 at 8pm in Hilperton Village Hall to discuss how to initiate a neighbourhood plan which will give residents a say about where they would like to see housing.
By Tanya Yilmaz, Trowbridge and Melksham reporter 21 Oct 2015 www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk