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Business

Chamber calls for haulage and holiday traffic diversion

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce has called for unnecessary haulage and holiday traffic to be diverted away from the town during the summer months.

The A346, which goes north to south through the town provides a direct link between the south coast ports and the Midlands and North.

However, a series of roadworks are scheduled for May and June, with the works in the latter months taking place at weekends.

Last summer's gas main works brought the centre of town to a stand-still, and commuters reported tailbacks of up to two hours to reach the centre while shops reported a massive drop in trade.

Now the Chamber of Commerce has called for traffic to be diverted via the M4 and A34 Newbury bypass, pointing out that neither holiday-makers nor lorry drivers will want to be stuck in roadworks traffic, and that freeing up the roads will make travel easier for residents and local businesses.

In a letter to councillor Dick Tonge, portfolio holder for transport and highways at Wiltshire Council, the Chamber wrote: “As you are no doubt aware, roadworks on and around the A346 Salisbury Road have, in previous years, caused absolute havoc, with tailbacks of up to two hours being reported by motorists.

“This chaos is exacerbated by unnecessary freight and holiday traffic using the A346 to travel between the south coast and the M4 at Swindon.

“On behalf of the businesses of Marlborough, and the workers who commute into and out of town on a daily basis, we would request that signs be erected north and south of the A346 advising commercial and leisure drivers of the roadworks, and recommending they use the A34 Newbury bypass as an alternative route.”

The A346 is a popular route with hauliers, who can shave three miles from their 64-mile journey from Southampton Docks to Junction 15 of the M4 at Swindon by following the country roads through Tidworth and the Collingbournes, over the narrow double bridges at Burbage Wharf, through the centre of Marlborough and through Ogbourne St Andrew and Chiseldon.

According to the AA, the average drive time from the docks at Southampton to Junction 15 of the M4 via the is A338 / A346, a total of 61 miles, takes around an hour and a half.

The alternative route – via the A34 Newbury bypass and the M4, which was designated the main route in the early 1990s – is 64 miles but is about 15 minutes quicker.

According to Wiltshire Council figures, an average of 7,000 vehicles use the A338 / A346 corridor every day, rising to 16,000 between Swindon and Marlborough.

The corridor has a higher than average accident rate, with 205 accidents in five years, resulting in 343 casualties, including 8 fatalities and 75 serious injuries.

A working party headed by Wiltshire councillors has been looking at de-priming the A346, which would allow the imposition of weight limits on the road, prevent hauliers not delivering locally from using the route, and force satellite navigation and online mapping companies to remove the A338 / A346 as the default route.  

Read our original story about the May / June roadworks here

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Chamber throws weight behind town hall plans

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce has thrown its weight behind a continuing programme of improvements to the town hall, describing the amenity as “a great asset” and saying that improvements already made to the building had given businesses “a growing sense of confidence that the Town Hall is the right venue to showcase everything that Marlborough's economic community has to offer”.

In a letter read out at a public meeting on Monday, Chamber president Paul Shimell said: “The committee of Marlborough Chamber of Commerce would like to voice its support for the continuing improvements being made to Marlborough Town Hall.

“The Chamber is of the opinion that the Town Hall is now a great asset to Marlborough, due in no small part to the improvements made over recent years.

“In the past 12 months the Chamber has held a number of high-profile events at the Town Hall, including its most successful AGM in many years, a children's art exhibition and a fashion show, all of which attracted hundreds of visitors from Marlborough and further afield.

“The Town Hall was also a focal point for this year's activities around the switching-on of the Christmas Lights, an event of great importance to Marlborough's retail community.

“In the next few months we are planning a second fashion show and a charity ball. Improvements to access and aesthetics at the front of the building, the installation of an integrated sound system and the decoration of the building have all added to a growing sense of confidence that the Town Hall is the right venue to showcase everything that Marlborough's economic community has to offer.

“We hope that the council will commit to maintaining and improving the Town Hall for years to come.”

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Used cooking oil fuels a good cuppa

Wiltshire residents have generated sufficient clean, green energy to make almost 2 million cups of tea by recycling their used cooking oil.

Figures for 2011 show that 8,020 litres of used cooking oil was collected at the county’s household recycling centres (HRCs) operated by Hills Waste Solutions. That amount was sufficient to generate 30,075 KWh of green electricity.

Cliff Carter, recycling manager Hills Waste Solutions, said: “The carbon neutral electricity generated by recycling used cooking oil is helping to achieve renewable energy targets and slow climate change. Recycling this oil makes good use of what was previously a waste material.”

Living Fuels, who are contracted by Hills to collect the oil from its HRCs, uses a patented recovery process to produce a sustainable bioliquid called LF100. It is this bioliquid which is used in combined heat and power facilities to generate green electricity.

Toby Sturgis, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for waste and recycling, said: “The council’s 11 household recycling centres are a key part of Wiltshire’s very successful drive to turn waste into resources and reduce the amount sent to landfill.

“They are helping considerably with our plans to recycle 50 percent of household waste and reduce landfill to less than 25 percent by 2014. The new collection services will enable residents to recycle more at the kerbside, and we will be working with Hills to extend the range of materials that residents can recycle at the household recycling centres.

“Cooking oil is one of our more recent successes, along with household batteries, and we will seek more new opportunities in the future.”

To find your nearest household recycling centres and opening times visit www.recycleforwiltshire.com To find out more about the oil recycling process, visit www.livingfuels.co.uk

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'Luna' to open second shop in Hungerford

lunalunaMarlborough’s independent ladies fashion boutique Luna is defying the economic downturn and the slew of recent shop closures to open a second Wiltshire store in Hungerford.

Owner Carrie Mainwaring, who opened her first shop on King’s Street in Marlborough in mid-November, has been delighted with the response from locals and is excited about the new Hungerford launch.  “I really wasn’t sure how Luna would be received in Marlborough but I recognised that there was a gap in the market for an independent, mid-range fashion and accessories store.  Although I have a keen interest in fashion this was my first foray into retailing and let’s face it a lot of people would say it wasn’t a great time economically to take the risk of starting up a new venture.  However I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received, both from customers and from other shop owners in the town and I’m hoping the Hungerford store will be as equally well received.”

“I want Luna to be somewhere that offers a fun retail experience with items that won’t break the bank but are stylish, seasonal and maybe slightly more ‘edgy’ to wear.”  continues Carrie. “Most of the pieces are around the £25 to £50 price mark although we do have a couple of more luxury items such as a gillet which is £180. The handbags have proved to be really popular in the Marlborough store so it will be interesting to see what takes off in the Hungerford shop.”

The Luna Hungerford Store, at 115 High Street, opened on Saturday, March 17 - and customers were invited to enjoy a glass of bubbly while they looked around.

Luna opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, Sunday 11am to 4pm

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Chamber toasts hotel´s £1m refit

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce is toasting the re-opening of the town´s iconic Castle and Ball hotel – with coffee, tea and a cooked breakfast.

The Chamber will be holding its first business breakfast of the year at the hotel on Wednesday, March 21 from 8am.

The popular networking meetings were put on ice because the hotel was undergoing a £1m refurbishment.

Organiser Rob Collins, a partner a Withy King solicitors, said: “I hope that you will be able to join us in the improved surroundings.”

Bookings must be made by March 19 to Claire Swan on 01672 518811 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • Marlborough-2013-04-18 St Peters
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