Government confirms £45m cash injection for Swindon highway schemes

By Nick Batten on 11 October, 2019

Two major highway schemes in Swindon will receive more than £45m in government funding, it was announced earlier this month.

The funding for improvements to White Hart roundabout and the construction of the Wichelstowe Southern Access are two of just four schemes throughout the UK to receive money from the Department for Transport (DfT) in an initial £100m wave of investment in the UK’s roads.

The improvements to White Hart roundabout will support the forthcoming 8,000-home New Eastern Villages development to the east of the A419. The scheme will increase capacity at the junction to accommodate the significant increase in traffic that will be generated by this urban development. The DfT has allocated £22.5m to Swindon Borough Council for the junction upgrade, which will see the creation of a new northbound slip road, the widening of the southbound slip road, an increase in the number of lanes and the installation of traffic signals. Work is due to start this autumn and is expected to be finished in the spring of 2021.

The Wichelstowe Southern Access  will benefit from £22.9m in DfT funding and will create additional access into Wichelstowe by building a tunnel underneath the M4. The tunnel – which was a requirement of the planning permission for the wider Wichelstowe site – will help support 4,500 new homes, a new district centre and will also unlock 12.5 hectares of employment land, supporting around 2,000 new jobs. As with the White Hart roundabout, the work at Wichelstowe is expected to be completed by the spring of 2021.

Funding for both schemes will be allocated via Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP).

Councillor Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, described the funding as “a huge vote of confidence” by the Government in the council’s house building plans.

He said, “The funding for the White Hart roundabout means we can immediately begin the improvement works and I’m sure drivers in East Swindon will welcome the news that we are tackling congestion at one of the Borough’s key interchanges.”

Councillor Maureen Penny, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment, added, “These are exciting times for Swindon, and we will continue to make the case to the Government for additional funding to help bring forward similar highways schemes across the Borough.”

Pictured: (Top of Page) an aerial shot of White Hart Junction and (above) a recent shot of the Canalside section of the Wichelstowe development. Both images courtesy of UrbanBuzz Media