Devizes homes protesters head to meet planning minister

This Is Wiltshire: Coate Road development protesters Ted East, Nigel Carter, Judy Rose, Tony Sedgwick, Alex Miller and Jeff Ody Coate Road development protesters Ted East, Nigel Carter, Judy Rose, Tony Sedgwick, Alex Miller and Jeff Ody

Devizes residents opposed to 350 houses being built on greenfield land at Coate Road are to meet with planning minister Nick Boles in the New Year to explain their fears to him.

Devizes MP Claire Perry has arranged the meeting with Mr Boles in Westminster on January 23. She will be accompanied by Coun Laura Mayes, chairwoman of Devizes Area Board, Devizes councillor Nigel Carter and Tony Sedgwick, Rick Rowland and Richard Gamble of the Devizes Community Area Partnership.

Coun Mayes said: “We want to hear his understanding of localism. While we are confident Mactaggart and Mickel’s planning application will be refused by Willtshire Council because the land is not in the core strategy for housing development, we are not so confident that it will be refused at appeal.

“We are not saying we don’t want any more homes in Devizes but he has to allow us to get on and say where we want those homes to be. That, to my mind, is the meaning of localism.”

Glasgow-based developers Mactaggart and Mickel held a consultation exercise at Nursteed Primary School last year on plans to build at Coate Road and the overwhelming reaction was against any further housing development along the London Road corridor.

But after the government decided to review planning policy, the developers thought they would try again and set up a display of outline plans in Devizes Library.

This sparked a storm of protest and a rally on The Green on Saturday December 8 was attended by nearly 250 people.

Last month Nick Boles caused a storm by saying that he wanted to see another 1,500 square miles of England developed for housing, and last week a review by Lord Taylor of Goss Moor concluded that up to 80 per cent of the current planning regulations should be jettisoned.

This has in itself caused concern and Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “Detail is all important in planning and we will be on high alert to ensure there are no unintended consequences for the countryside.”

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