Local

Lydiard Park ~ developers strike again

...this appeal decision has sparked concerns that more developers will target nearby land and try to submit planning applications before the ink is dry on the Swindon Core Strategy (which steers where future housing should go). This is a similar tactic to the one we are experiencing in Purton with Widham Farm. I also hear that Persimmon Homes, following their exhibition in the village hall in August, has now submitted its application for Restrop Road, also outside the settlement boundary ~ more on this in due course.

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The Fox ~ diverted footpath

Although not to be legally confirmed until the end of October pending any further representations, Wiltshire Council is minded to divert part of Footpath 71. Originally, the contentious element was for the diverted footpath to exit about 10 or 15 m before the first bend leading into The Fox (just before No 1, The Fox). This would have been quite dangerous and several representations including mine were made about this.  

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Ridgeway Farm ~ is a mess

the Environment Agency is maintaining its objection because of the poor drainage strategy, and Network Rail also continues to object. This is all against a backdrop of concerns about the width of the Spine Road and allocated parking spaces (see the SRA web site for further detail) which Wiltshire Council officers have still to answer satisfactorily. Since the two current applications were not “called in” so that they could be decided by councillors, they are now being decided by Wiltshire Council officers. This is fine for small applications such as household ones ~ not easy to get those wrong. But I would have thought that all big contentious applications with far-reaching consequences should automatically be brought before our elected councillors for scrutiny. This certainly seems to be the case for Ridgeway Farm which is now just a mess.

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Widham Farm ~ Appeal Hearing

The first couple of days were given over to the appellant (Mr Cornell and Wainhomes South West) cross-examining the Wiltshire Council planning officers. The third day, at Cricklade was for Wiltshire Council to cross-examine the appellant's witnesses and for third parties to make representations. Myself and Unitary Councillor Jacqui Lay made representations and then stayed on to question the appellant's witnesses, the parish council appeared briefly to make a statement then left, and the Parish Plan stayed for most of the day. A couple of other third parties (local residents) were in attendance and spoke mainly on the issue of flooding. As always, it is difficult to read how it all went, though we did the best we could. One point that emerged is that

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Neighbourhood Plan ~ conflict?

You could be forgiven that the draft Deregulation Bill (the one that is about removing so-called red tape for businesses) has little significance for neighbourhood planning. Not so. Tucked away in a little corner (page 31 para 187) is a “repeal of duty to prepare sustainable community strategy“. In essence, this is about modifying the Local Government Act 2000 to delete section 4 so that local authorities (such as Wiltshire Council) are no longer required to prepare sustainable community strategies. This makes no sense, on the one hand  

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Widham Farm ~ Talking Points

Widham Farm is now going into its third day tomorrow (Tuesday 24th September 2013). This is the time for local people to come (Cricklade Town Hall at 09:30) to show solidarity with those presenting the case on behalf of Purton. If you wish to speak please register by 09:30 am. Even if just there to listen, it may still be possible to comment occasionally, as the Inspector often asks a general question to which any third party (that’s us) is able to respond. Below are some talking points to which […]

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Widham Farm ~ begins soon

As previously mentioned, this inquiry is, unusually, being held in two locations. The first two days in Trowbridge and a third day in Cricklade. Typically, these appeals are heard in Chippenham so having a couple of days in Trowbridge is a bit of a trek. The planning inspectorate is being very tight-lipped about what might be discussed on any particular day, “it is up to the inspector on the day”. There is no guidance being given out though one assumes that the Cricklade day is more for local participation. In […]

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Wiltshire Core Strategy ~ shaping our parish

As you may know, this strategy identifies (amongst other things) the preferred general location of housing in Wiltshire. The document is critical to the future shape of both Purton and Purton Stoke since our neighbourhood plan (which will comment on future housing in the parish) has to conform to the overall housing strategy argued in the core strategy. There has been a public examination of this strategy in front of a government-appointed planning inspector, and various modifications to the strategy are now out for consultation. All those concerned with the […]

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Season of Surveys

Even while the ink is still drying on the parish plan (should be published soon) we have another survey inviting us to “tell us what matters to you”. The neighbourhood plan is kicking off with the usual exhortation to “let your views be known”. You can access the survey here. It begins quite imaginatively in that it asks us to imagine that the year is 2026. We are then asked to write a postcard from that date, as if all of the things that we would like to happen in […]

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