Chippenham Community Voice

A positive future for our town and villages

Archived News

October 20th, 2014


Further Consultation resulting from the Examination in Public (EiP) of the Wiltshire Core Strategy!

This is really important - it's your last chance to make a difference!

August 30th, 2013

Consultation has now begun (on August 22nd, 2013) on Wiltshire Council's proposed modifications to the Wiltshire Core Strategy.  You can find the Consultation documents and advice on how to commenton the Wiltshire Council website HERE.

THE CONSULTATION WILL END ON OCTOBER 9th, 2013

Interestingly, the email sent out notifying us of the new public consultation was marked by the Council as 'confidential'! I can't imagine why Wiltshire Council would wish to keep a public consultation confidential, can you?

The changes are shown in 5 volumes containing hundreds of changes marked either as 'main' or 'minor'.  The 'major' ones are the ones that Wiltshire Council consider necessary to make the Core Strategy 'sound' - implying that they accept that the Core Strategy that the Inspector examined in the recent Examiniation in Public was NOT sound!

Comments are only accepted on the 'soundness' of the changes and shouldn't relate to any other matters; if they do they will be ignored.  The only ones actually worth commenting on are those marked as 'main' as they go towards 'soundness' of the Core Strategy and will be considered by the Inspector while the minor changes won't be.

First reports - from colleagues at the A36/A350 Corridor Alliance and the White Horse Alliance - highlight the radical surgery the council has proposed as a way to deal with criticisms of its feeble policies for monitoring and reviewing the strategy and its delivery.

One member commented:  ‘That first change - CR1 - is quite something, covering almost all policies -  “Remove all text for Targets, Monitoring & Review and Delivery Responsibility. These will be incorporated directly into the Wiltshire Monitoring Framework.”  There was heaps wrong with the targets and monitoring, especially in relation to transport, also air quality etc. To sweep all that which was there away is probably not a bad idea  - but to put what replaces it into some as yet undelivered and un-consulted-upon document surely will make the Core Strategy as it stands unsound?!’

Another member from NAWS and the CPRE commented on the ‘risible’ changes to Section 6, which contains these monitoring targets: ‘Many of these received criticism during the hearings (they were indeed amateurish and appallingly badly put together).  The Council's solution is to delete them altogether, in every case.  So now all these key policies have no targets or monitoring or delivery responsibility at all!   My overall preliminary impression is that the Council has …made a bad document worse … the strategic incoherence which has afflicted the CS throughout is simply made worse.’

At the Showell Strategic Planning Meeting in Chippenham on 31st July council members were threatened with having to meet the costs of an appeal if they did not grant planning permission for a new roundabout which would facilitate an entrance to the site - all the Conservatives voted in favour, plus Terry Chivers who shared his dream of a dual carriageway from the M4 to the South Coast once more!  Cllr. Newbury argued for deferral of the decision until after the CS Inspector's Report was to hand, and later proposed refusal.  Dick Tonge (former portfolio holder for public transport) spoke well against the scheme being given permission for the access, and the Highways Report stated that the proposal was contrary to Policy CP2 of the CS which relates to the Primary Road Network: the site could be adequately accessed from an existing B-road.

There is also an issue regarding the local bat population. Most of the trees and mature species-rich hedges would be removed from the site, causing a severe loss of habitat for several bat species including Bechstein’s, Greater Horseshoe and Leisler’s. As well as planting new hedges (which would take a decade or more to be any use), the developer proposes that the existing mature species-rich hedgerow network be translocated to the margins of the plots! They conclude that this 'mitigation' will prevent any breach of the EU Habitats Directive [Thanks to WHA for much of the above information].

CSJ planning, representing Chippenham 2020 LLP, has asked the Secretary of State to 'Call In' the Showell Farm Planning Application, presumably because they believe if it is refused then Wiltshire Council would have to reconsider land owned by them to the East of Chippenham to be built on in place of Showell.  Either way, development at Showell and any to the east of Chippenham should be opposed strongly.  The Core Strategy Inspector let it be known that this was not a matter to concern him.


Well, it's all been happening at the Examination in Public (EiP) of the Wiltshire Core Strategy!

July 2nd, 2013

Firstly, we have found out that there is a developer proposing to build a business park on land at M4 J17 called the Sealy Farm Partnership, who have been proposing the site for at least 3 years to Wiltshire Council.  That puts in perspective the outright lies that we were told in the Wiltshire Council Public Consultation Meeting held at the Neeld Hall on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011, and previously in March, when Wiltshire Council Officers insisted that WC was unable because of planning legislation to even consider including land in the Core Strategy for development that no developers had shown interest in.  Apart from the fact that Sealy Farm Partnership HAD ALREADY expressed interest, there is nothing in planning law that says that Councils can only assign land for development that developers have already expressed interest in.

That really would be the tail wagging the dog, wouldn't it?

Latterly the Council has claimed that J17 was excluded because the M4 J17 roundabout is almost up to full capacity and that the Highways Agency are against any development there for that reason.  However we have been advised by representatives from Smiths Gore, who are agents at the EiP for the Sealy Farm Partnership, that in fact the Highways Agency are fully behind the Sealy Farm plans as indeed are Wiltshire Council, because there will be central Government funds available to develop the necessary infrastructure at J17.

It is also a fact that Wiltshire Council has applied for funding from central Government under the CityDeal2 scheme to allow development at Junction 17, and that they expect that development to be IN ADDITION to the proposed development areas contained within the Wiltshire Core Strategy!

Wiltshire Council have told CCV, with no acceptable reason given, ever since we first proposed J17 as an obvious business development site, that building at J17 would not decrease the requirement for building land within the town of Chippenham, even though it is actually quicker to get there from the station than it is to get to their preferred business park option at Showell Farm, and completely ignoring the fact that J17 is easily accessible from both Chippenham and elsewhere.  After all, with all the land available at J17, any forward-thinking planner could see that migrating the contents of the numerous business parks in Chippenham to J17 would free up more than enough brown-field land to fulfill Chippenham's housing needs for many decades to come.  To reduce traffic, regular bus services could be run to J17, and dare we suggest even a cycleway could be provided alongside the A350 to link the town and J17 in an ecologically friendly manner.

NAWS (Network Against Wiltshire Sprawl), of which CCV is a founder member, has at the EiP and using the Council's own data shown that the number of dwellings proposed by the Council across the county is around 3,000 too many (while obviously many of the developers present have been arguing that the numbers are too few - standard practise for land speculators who already have permissions countrywide to build over 400,000 dwellings that remain unbuilt!).  A report by Saville's also informed us that there is enough available B2 business premises vacant in the county to fulfill its needs for decades.

CCV on behalf of its many member residents groups has continued to argue at the EiP that Chippenham has reached its natural size, and should only grow organically, i.e. to meet the needs of its residents and not those of greedy developers.

ECOS (East OF Chippenham Open Space group) has brought to the Inspector's attention that the land proposed by Chippenham 2020 LLP to be developed isn't even in the Chippenham Community Area, but in the Calne Community Area! The people of Calne haven't been consulted by Wiltshire Council about this threat to the Avon and Marden river vale, a natural environmental boundary separating their town from Chippenham, and although this land is being discussed as a strategic site it is interesting to note that the Core Strategy for Calne contains NO strategic sites!

Showell Protection Group have been vocal in petitioning the Inspector as to why development in that area is a bad idea, and support the notion of J17 as sound.

The Friends of Birds Marsh have also been very active at the EiP, and elsewhere have secured Village Green status for Birds Marsh Wood itself as well as one of the fields outside it.  Two more fields for which such status was applied and rejected will be taken to Judicial Review, because the reason that Village Green status wasn't granted was because the developers were able to argue that the fields had been ploughed in the past few years even though there is no evidence to support their claims.  If the fields are given protection then the new link road proposed running from the golf club roundabout behind the ambulance station to Maud Heath's Causeway cannot be built.


 

 

Open Letter to Andrew Noblett,
Leader of Chippenham Town Council

February 8th, 2013

Mr Noblett,

I am aware that you are continuing to propagate the myth that Chippenham Community Voice (CCV) is against any development in Chippenham per se, even though you know that isn't correct.

You stated this incorrect view at the Chippenham Vision Board Meeting on December 4th 2012, after the Chippenham 2020 LLP presentation.  I personally responded then that your comments were unfounded and that CCV unanimously supported the redevelopment of the area around the station (as proposed by Chippenham 2020 LLP) and the town centre generally.  I suggested that you read a copy of our manifesto which describes our position regarding development fully and which is available on our website at www.chippenhamcommunityvoice.co.uk.

What we do NOT support is Chippenham 2020 LLP's publicly stated need to pay for that development by building 2,500 - 3,500 house on valuable farmland in the only green rolling hillsides and river valleys left undeveloped in the town's landscape. Chippenham 2020 LLP have stated in presentations that their 'Station Square' development proposals are self-funding, that the anchor tenants once signed will provide the means for the development to take place, and yet at a Bremhill Parish Council meeting presentation they said - in reply to questions from the floor - that they could only carry out the development if they were allowed to build upwards of 2,500 houses to the east of Chippenham at New Leaze Farm.

I know that Councillor Lyn Andre has provided you with a PDF copy of that manifesto and yet you continue to espouse your view of CCV whilst knowing full well that it is both incorrect and misleading. Your comments appear to mirror those made by Chippenham 2020 LLP, and I wonder why that might be?

So for the record, let us be clear.

Chippenham Community Voice fully supports the outline plans made by Chippenham 2020 LLP for the redevelopment of the area around Chippenham railway station and those for the town centre in general, and we have voiced that support publicly and in various meetings including Chippenham Vision Board attended by our members.

We stand by the aims stated in our manifesto completely, which does NOT argue for zero growth and no development, but makes it clear that we expect any development to be on brown-field land first, and that housing development should be limited to the town population's needs and not driven by the aspirations of developers.

We believe that a more fitting environment for business development is at J17 on the M4, which developers already want and which is easily reachable by the community in Chippenham, is within the Chippenham Community Area and would still enable the laudable objective of attempting to make Chippenham a self-sustainable town while maintaining excellent motorway links with the rest of the country.

We are against the re-designation of our town as a 'principal settlement' instead of a market town. This fait accompli was made by the (then) North Wiltshire Council and accepted by the new Wiltshire Council without any consultation with the residents of Chippenham and indeed without acknowledging to them the dangers involved - such as becoming a clear target for a disproportionate amount of house building over and above that actually required within the town.

In the light of the above please have the graciousness to accept that you are wrong and apologise for misleading the good people of Chippenham.

Yours sincerely,

Steven Perry

On behalf of Chippenham Community Voice.


M4 Junction 17 Development Proposals - "an error"!

"Democracy" in action Tuesday 7th February 2012

At the full Wiltshire Council Meeting held in the Civic Centre, Trowbridge on Tuesday 7th February, the proposed and amended Core Strategy was forced through overwhelmingly (with only insignificant changes) by the Conservative  majority. They spent most of the day rudely barracking and heckling any voices from the opposition that made any arguments against anything within the proposed Core Strategy.

Congratulations and sincere thanks to Wiltshire Councillors Ian McLennan, George Jeans, Chris Caswill and Bill Douglas and others, for speaking out strongly on behalf of their constituents yesterday. They certainly showed the members of the majority sheep herd on the right of the hall how to represent their constituents interests and wishes rather than their own party agenda. The catchphrases most used (and most patronisingly) by the Conservative speakers were 'we are where we are...' and '...obviously there are always losers in such debates and it's just not possible to give everyone what they want' and 'someone always ends up unhappy somewhere'. Yes, especially when the opinions of a vast majority of the affected people are stubbornly and studiously ignored...

On page 61 of the revised Core Strategy, the document actually being debated in Council, in the Section about Chippenham, the last bullet point under the heading Issues and considerations says "Junction 17, M4 provides an opportunity for new employment provision in Wiltshire. These opportunities should be explored furter in conjunction with the Wiltshire and Swindon Local Enterprise Partnership".

Most disturbingly, Council-published plans for an option for business development at M4 J17 (proposed by CCV at the previous full council meeting and ridiculed by some, including Cllr Jane Scott, the Leader of the Council), was in the later stages of this meeting removed as a possibility, and we were told that its inclusion "was an error"! Cllr Chris Caswill during his questions was told that the inclusion of the item was a 'typo', which it clearly isn't (a typo is when an incorrect character is typed by missing the intended key, not a whole paragraph!), and therefore as the paragraph 'isn't there' it 'cannot therefore be discussed'!

When CCV raised J17 as an option originally, at a 'Consultation' meeting in Chippenham last March, we were told by Officers of the Council that "only land that developers have registered an interest in can be considered by the Council for development purposes in the Core Strategy". CCV made the J17 proposal as a means of providing business development on already-blighted greenfield land, rather than developing pristine grade A agricultural greenfield sites close to Chippenham. Later in the year we were told that in fact there has been interest shown in that land, but that the interest and any details of it were 'commercially sensitive' and therefore couldn't be made public. Then on 24th May, at the full Council meeting in Devizes, we were again told that it wasn't an option, and Jane Scott famously retorted "...and anyway, you'd get people from Wales commuting there to work!" - Apparently, Cllr Scott believes that the additional 2.4 miles journey from J17 to the centre of Chippenham would prevent that obviously outrageous event happening!  However since then we have been advised that M4 J17 IS under consideration since CCV raised the issue.

So the Core Strategy has been adopted, and the plan for Chippenham to remain a Principal Settlement rather than a Market Town, along with all the planned growth that goes with that, is steaming ahead even though more than 90% of the Chippenham Area tax-payers don't want it! The beginning of the new ring road from Morrisons roundabout round the North of Chippenham looks set to happen, which will then open up the East of Chippenham to the ravages of even more unsuitable and unsustainable development.

Wiltshire Council and its planners argue that building more business parks at Chippenham (to supplement the many half-empty ones already existing) together with nearly 5,000 MORE dwellings will regenerate the town centre and encourage people to work where they live. However they have no plans (or idea) how to guarantee that the business parks they want to build will create a large number of jobs (a distribution warehouse for example can cover many hectares of green countryside and only provide a handful of jobs - but vastly increase traffic, emissions and road congestion) or that the up-to-15,000 new residents will not just join all the other out-commuters, also adding to carbon emissions and transport congestion and NOT be sustainable according to the Council's own policies!

There is almost no recognition of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in the CS document.  Though the Cabinet insisted that likely changes had been taken into account, that is not evidenced in the actual policy document. However Cllr Fleur de Rhe Philippe, the responsible Cabinet member, did acknowledge that the (again) revised version of the Core Strategy is due out by the end of March.

Cllr Caswill referred to that when he moved an amendment to extend the consultation to ten weeks, given that the six weeks now agreed expires on or about April 1st, potentially just a few days after the new NPPF is published. The Cabinet got visibly angry about this proposed amendment, which was rejected.

One final question. All County Councils surrounding Wiltshire have reduced their housing requirements by up to 50% in response to the current financial climate and the scrapping of the Reigonal Spacial Strategy - why do Wiltshire Council stand out as a beacon of overdevelopment in that they haven't reduced their development plans significantly?

Remember that at the next County Council elections..



28th November 2011

 

CCV Manifesto Published!

Our Manifesto contains a comprehensive vision of what the collective Residents Groups in the Chippenham Town Area agree is essential to protect the town and its rural surroundings for the benefit of future generations.  Download and read the manifesto by clicking the image to the right (download is 131K in size):


Residents Welly Walk Sunday 27th November 2011

A Welly Walk organised by the Monkton Park Residents' Association was attended on Sunday by a very large contingent of Chippenham residents from many of Chippenham's Residents' Groups and was addressed by James Gray MP before the walk began.

The walk was organised to show the level of anger at developers' proposals to enlarge our town even more than it has been to date, with no notice being taken by either Wiltshire Council or the developers as to what the vast majority of residents in the town area want for the future of their town.

The Gazette & Herald promised to attend but regrettably failed to do so.

A few of the protesters at the start-point of the walk...

The large column winding its way across some of the threatened areas...

 



24th August 2011

Response from Sue Wiltshire, CEO Chippenham Town Council, to letter from Joan Ryder in our Community Comments section.

Read the Town Council's full reply HERE.

Residents' survey and instant poll RESULTS AVAILABLE HERE!


JUST WHO SHOULD WE BELIEVE?

August 2nd, 2012

The letter below was published today in the Chippenham Gazette & Herald, and carries a couple of statements that are simply not true...

In the first highlighted paragraph below, Mr Inskip claims that CCV is determined "to hold back change". That statement is fundementally untrue - CCV wants the Town and Wiltshire Councils to listen to - and heed - the very large opinion in the town that doesn't want large amounts of farms and greenfields, and a landscape that so many people enjoy, to go under the developers' bulldozers without very good cause.

We do NOT have a large unemployment problem in the town, nor even a large housing problem. The number of homes actually required in Chippenham over the period of the Core Strategy are from the Council's own figures numbered in hundreds, not thousands, and the only reason that Wiltshire Council insist that Chippenham should be inflicted with yet another development - the size of the Pewsham estate in total - plus even more business parks, is because some bureaucrat in Wiltshire Council has decided totally undemocratically that Chippenham should be redesignated as a Principal Settlement instead of enjoying our previous status of Market Town.  CCV is quite open to the need for several hundred more dwellings , and we have made suggestions to the Council as to where they could be located - on existing brown field sites.

In an email to the Editor dated April 1st, 2012 - complaining about the content and tone of our entry for his company in the section in our 'Developers' page herein - Mr Inskip said “I inhabit a world where the truth matters and I do not expect my word to be doubted.” He then proceeds to make the completely outrageous and unfounded claim that Chippenham Community Voice attempted to stop his company having a stand at the recent Chippenham Fun Day!  We challenge Mr Inskip to make public any evidence he has of that ludicrous claim, or publish an apology.

Further, he then claims that Chippenham 2020 LLP (NOT to be confused with Chippenham Vision 2020 OR Chippenham Vision Board) are a team of local people dedicated to Chippenham "who really care about the town, unlike national house builders and are determined to get it right" - while in his own statement to Wiltshire Council Cabinet on May 24th, 2011, he said "...Chippenham 2020 and Barratts are progressing comprehensive mixed use development proposals at East Chippenham..."! Their glossy documentation so liberally spread about the town gives people the impression that his company is a developer in its own right, when in fact he wrote to the Editor in another email (also of April 1st 2012) that “…we will not be building the houses ourselves and it is our current intention to sell small parcels to house builders as the development progresses…” thus accepting that Chippenham 2020 LLP are not developers but property speculators which they have in the past so vehemently denied.


Monkton Park Residents Welly Walk Sunday 27th November 11.30 a.m.

A Welly Walk has been organised by the Monkton Park Residents Group to show the strength of opposition to the leaflet (below) sent out by ‘Meeting Place Developments.’

We are gathering on the little bridge over the old Calne Line at the end of Eastern Avenue.  A Gazette & Herald photographer is coming to record the event, so please come along to let them know what you really think about their plans.



 

9th September 2011

RESIDENTS' SURVEY and INSTANT POLL RESULTS!

The 2011 Residents' Survey is now closed, and the results have been collated in a full 15 page report .

The report confirms the results of the Councils' and Chippenham Vision's own surveys, that on the basis of all the surveys completed the overwhelming majority of residents are opposed to any further unnecessary development of the Chippenham Area and especially against any further erosion of the green areas around the town.

The last page of the report includes the result of the Instant Poll that was run on the site at the same time as the main survey, and over 400 residents contributed to it!

The report has been forwarded to Wiltshire Council, Chippenham Town Council, James Gray MP and Duncan Hames MP and you can download it by clicking the image to the right (download is 768K in size):

POLLS CLOSED AUGUST 2nd 2011


7th September 2011

RESIDENTS' SURVEY

The results will be published on Friday September 9th, 2011, and reported to the Wiltshire Council and its planners, as well as the Town Council and our MPs.

09th August 2011

PUBLIC CONSULTATION about the proposed Wiltshire Core Strategy

Public Consultations have now closed.


14th July 2011

PUBLIC CONSULTATION about the proposed Wiltshire Core Strategy

Public Consultations started on Monday 13th June and last only until Monday 8th August. We have made it easy for you to register your objections on our Say NO! page.


NEWS FLASH! 14th July 2011 - THE EAST, NORTH EAST and SOUTH WEST OF CHIPPENHAM STILL AT RISK!

Did YOU know that there was an exhibition in Chippenham to explain the new Core Strategy? No, because the local and County Councils would prefer that no-one knows, and have YET AGAIN failed to promote an event because they're scared of the outcome of doing so! - Blissful ignorance means no opposition! You can still view it and discuss it, on Friday, 15th July, at Calne Town Hall.

BE THERE! BE ANGRY THAT 'THEY' WANT TO KEEP YOU IN THE DARK!


31st June 2011

PUBLIC CONSULTATION about the proposed Wiltshire Core Strategy

On Wednesday 6 July, between 2 and 8 pm,  there will be an opportunity to look at the plans, and talk to officers and councillors, at the Neeld Hall in Chippenham (behind the Town Hall in the High Street).

Public Consultation started on Monday 13th June and lasts only until Monday 8th August.  You can register on Wiltshire Council's Consultation Portal by clicking the following link:

WILTSHIRE COUNCIL CONSULTATION PORTAL - You will then be able to have your say directly to the Council.

To do so you will need to register on the site. This only takes a few moments. WARNING! The main consultation document is 177 pages long and there are a stack of supporting documents! Section 5.1 relates directly to Chippenham and runs from page 36 to page 50. To make life simpler we have extracted the section relating to Chippenham and you can download it HERE.


25th May 2011

In Northamptonshire, they have held local referendums and 96% of votes cast were OPPOSED to the plan for low-level radioactive waste to be dumped in a landfill site at Kings Cliffe, near Peterborough. Northamptonshire county councillors had already unanimously rejected the plan in March 2010.

Today Communities Secretary Eric Pickles gave permission in the face of almost total opposition of both the County Council and a huge majority of the voters in the county. The link is on the BBC News website HERE.

If this is a demonstration of the Coalition's commitment to Localism, then we all need to be very worried indeed!

Yesterday, in the Wiltshire Council Cabinet Meeting held at Browfort, Devizes, the Wiltshire Core Strategy Consultation Document was approved unanimously after submissions from Chippenham Community Voice members as well as representatives of various developers, who appeared to be quite angry after the Cabinet rejected their applications to have the East Chippenham option from previous plans re-introduced to the Core Strategy.  They held that the 2 options contained in the Consultation Document were both very similar and in the same area at Showell between Chippenham and Lacock.


11th May 2011

On April 5th, Calne Area Board held a public seminar on ‘Localism & What It Means For The Calne Community Area’. One of our members attended and has produced a report for you which can be found HERE. We wonder why Chippenham Area Board haven't done a similar exercise?


3rd May 2011

Sign the petition to protest against the Coalition's proposals to change the Planning regulations to make it easier for developers to build on our countryside!  Click HERE to sign.


24th April 2011

Support from Chris Caswill, Wiltshire Councillor and Chippenham Area Board Member, joining many other Chippenham Area Board Members and both Town and Wiltshire Councillors!

See his full statement on the Official Support page.

Wellie Walk
Friends of Birds Marsh are holding a Wellie Walk on May 1st (this Sunday).

Meet at the Tamarind restaurant (formally the King Alfred Pub) at 10:00am.
The walk is through the Bluebell woods and will also take in the Rhododendron trail.
The bar will be open for refreshments when we return to the Tamarind, and the walk will take approximately 45 minutes to an hour.


31st March 2011

Support voiced by Chippenham Area Board Members and both Town and Wiltshire Councillors!

See their full statements on the Official Support page.


23rd March2011

(Town Hall, 7pm)
The full Chippenham Town Council discussed the future development of Chippenham.  A full report can be found here.


Public Meeting
Tomorrow!
23rd March2011
(Town Hall, 6pm)
Chippenham Town Council is discussing the future development of Chippenham in a full council meeting which the public can attend. The public are also able to ask written or verbal questions at item 2 on the agenda.

Don't let them make decisions without YOU telling YOUR Town Council YOUR views and wishes for the future of YOUR town and villages - This is what LOCALISM means!

The meeting hasn't been advertised very well, inferring that some Members may not want you to be there!


March 13th, 2011

Statement of support received from North Wiltshire Friends of the Earth

See the full statement on the Official Support page.