Battle to save Calne green space

This Is Wiltshire: Councillors Charles Boaze and Emma Holton with residents who are unhappy at planning developments at Tern Close, Calne Councillors Charles Boaze and Emma Holton with residents who are unhappy at planning developments at Tern Close, Calne

Residents from a small Calne close say their fight against a steady stream of planning applications, to build on green land used by the community, has been exhausting.

The land, at the end of Tern Close, is surrounded by six houses and is part of a development built in 1977 by PH Bradley. It was maintained by the district council until 2009 when it became a unitary authority and decided to stop cutting the grass.

At this time P H Bradley successfully applied for planning permission for a one-bed property and sold the land to another developer.

Since 2010 residents have seen five proposals to build one or two houses there. The land also changed hands again and is now owned by Russell Bond. The latest proposal includes plans for a 1.8 metre high fence around the new properties within four metres of numbers seven, eight and nine Tern Close, which residents say would block their view and daylight.

Some residents, including Paul Wheal, who has lived in the close for 25 years, want to keep the land as a green space. They say it has been used as a playground for children for 34 years and also as a venue to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and VE Day anniversary celebrations in 1995 and 2005.

They applied individually to register the space as a village green in August and hope this will help to end the battle against development there.

Mr Wheal said: “We have had this continual drip, drip of planning applications, five in just three years. “It grinds you down – every time they lose it, they put in another plan.

“The local people don’t want it. There is no way we will accept any plan.”

Town councillor Emma Holton said: “The residents are tired now, they have put up a really good fight but they just want to see an end to it all.

“They have tried to work together on this, they’re almost like a little community because they’ve all lived there for a long time, but from my point of view I am just shocked. “Whatever happened to localism and listening to what the local people want?”

However, a representative from the current developers said the original planning permission for the one-bedroom house cannot be overturned.

Currently developers have two schemes in the pipeline, both of which are for two small semi-detached houses which have both been refused and are subject to an appeal.

Agent Vivian Vines, from Lipscombe Design Group, said: “We aim to take on everything the residents have said and also the council planning officers. “The residents don’t seem to realise that the present proposal for two dwellings will have less impact than what is already approved.

“These smaller houses have been designed to overcome the neighbours’ objections.”

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