The saga surrounding Trowbridge’s failed £46m cinema and supermarket redevelopment plans continued when a 1,000-name petition was handed over to Wiltshire Council.

Dozens of angry residents, who want to see the old Bowyers pork pie factory in Stallard Street redeveloped, turned up at the Trowbridge Area Board meeting on Thursday last week, to see the petition presented to its chairman, Councillor Gra-ham Payne, who has publicly supported the plans.

People were turned away after handing over the petition, because the meeting room at the Trowbridge Civic Centre was too small for the large numbers present.
The petition was organised by mother-of-two Rebecca Millard, who had organised a 400-strong march through the town a week earlier.

Ms Millard said: “I’m amazed at the response we have had since we started the petition just two weeks ago.

“People are still wanting to sign it, so we are gathering more signatures and then we hope to send it to the Government.”

South West Wiltshire MP Dr Andrew Murrison last week volunteered to take the petition to Parliament, so the issue could be discussed in the House of Commons.

The meeting was attended by Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, cabinet member for economic development, and afterwards, Cllr Payne said: “The petition will now go to the full council for reporting and that will have to be noted by the cabinet.

“It’s not dead in the water. Fleur has reiterated that she was prepared to work closely with the developer, Prorsus, to reach a mutually acceptable compromise for the site.

“As a supporter of the Prorsus scheme, I am also delighted that the local MP, Andrew Murrison, has pledged himself to support the initiative and I believe the combined pressure from right across the district will yield a positive result.”

Angus Horner, managing director of Prorsus, which is behind the Innox Riverside scheme, has already appealed against the decision.

A Government planning inspector is likely to hold an appeal hearing in Trow-bridge at the end of the year, with a view to announcing a decision in early 2013.
It will mean that if plans do get the go-ahead, they will have had a six-month delay.

If they are realised, there is a promise of a Cineworld multi-screen cinema, a Morrisons supermarket, six restaurants, including a Frankie & Benny’s and a Prezzo, and a Marston’s family pub set alongside a riverside walk.

The £46m scheme would create 500 low-skilled jobs, a factor which has proved popular with protesters.