Marlborough residents get first look at country park proposal
9:00am Friday 1st November 2013 in News
PLANS for a public country park in Marlborough in memory of late multi-millionaire Robert Sangster received a mixed reaction from residents at an exhibition at the town hall on Tuesday.
Mr Sangster’s sons Ben and Guy want to create the park on 14 hectares of the Manton Estate, which is a wildlife conservation area and was built up by their father, a leading racehorse owner and breeder.
In exchange, they would acquire 1.7 acres of open space north of Rabley Wood View from Wiltshire Council and want to build 50 new homes there.
The land also has a playground, which would be re-built to the south of the site between the new and existing homes.
Residents living next to the proposed development raised several concerns, including the temporary loss of the play area.
John Oliver, of Rogers Meadow, said: “I don’t agree with it. I can understand it’s going to be housing but there’s only one way in and one way out.
“People have to hit the main road to Swindon, that’s a problem at the moment. We will have another 40 or 50 cars getting out there in the morning.
“At the moment it’s fine when people go there with their dogs, which they all do. It’s 1.7 acres that they can’t do anything with, it’s all money-making.”
Another resident said: “I’m worried we haven’t got enough room for doctors and schools, let alone building extra houses.”
The housing development would affect David Baker, who has lived at The Thorns for 22 years, and whose house looks onto the land. He said: “From the viewing of the plan that we’ve seen, they will put housing in front of us which will completely block our view. It was the selling point of the land.
“The builder told us at the time it was going to be handed to the council for amenity land.
“I know people need housing but it’s a shock to find somebody can build within 20 yards of your back door after 22 years.”
Andrew Wakefield, of NC Architects Ltd, has developed the initial plans and said the exhibition was to address people’s concerns before submitting a full planning application.
He said: “The reaction has been mixed. I think people are concerned about the play area more than anything else. There are people who live nearby that are concerned about the impact on themselves.”
Marlborough mayor Guy Loosmore said town councillors would only make a decision on the proposal after seeing the full planning application.
He said: “I can’t express an opinion at this stage, but this is a consultation procedure where the town and the wider community are having an opportunity to see what’s being proposed.”
Jeremy Browne, a friend of the Sangster family, said: “A lot of people walk through the land. It’s private land, but the Sang-sters allow them to walk on it. This time round it will be owned by the Marlborough people and that’s what Robert wanted.
“I think for the town council there are some worried about the costs of the upkeep. But if that’s going to be a problem we could ask Wiltshire Wildlife to see if they’re interested.”
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