Housing march in Devizes
Protestors are to march through the town over revived plans for 250 more homes on land off London Road in Devizes.
Campaigners are furious that the plans for Coate Road are being submitted again by Glasgow developer Mactaggart and Mickel, despite being rejected by the community last year.
A letter sent to residents in the area last week made reference to the change in Government planning policy, which, they said, had led them to decide to submit an application early next year.
This change makes it easier for developers to gain permission for “sustainable” developments, without stipulating what “sustainable” means.
A motion from Ted East, chairman of the Trust for Devizes, gained the unanimous support of the 80 plus people at the Devizes Area Board meeting at the town hall on Monday night in the Assembly Room at the town hall.
It read: “The community condemns the Coalition Government’s apparent abandonment of its plans for localism and the opening of doors to unfettered development regardless of the adverse impacts on the community.
“We already have a health threat from air pollution due to traffic in Devizes and the local medical and other facilities are over-stretched. Further housing developments, beyond those envisaged in the Wiltshire Core Strategy, are likely to finally strangle Devizes.”
The recent appeal against refusal of permission for a care village on land at Quakers Walk rang alarm bells with many in the audience on Monday night. Avon Road resident Judy Rose said: “There is a huge concern that we are going to be swamped by developments from rapacious landowners. The Coate Road plan is back again but there is a vast number of sites in and around Devizes that are ripe for development. The thin end of the wedge has been reached.”
Another local, Jenny Kingsland, referred to the land at Spitalcroft in London Road being developed despite local opinion. She said: “It makes me very angry that people don’t rise up and strangle proposals like this. Please think about it very seriously.”
After the meeting, Tony Sedgwick, chairman of the Devizes Community Area Partnership, revealed plans for the march from Coate Road along London Road and into the town centre next Saturday, December 8.
There will be a rally on the Green at 10.30am followed by a march to Sheep Street where an exhibition of the plans will be on show at Devizes Library.
Mr Sedgwick has asked police for permission. Full details of the route and timings will be in next week’s Gazette & Herald.
Devizes MP Claire Perry said she had great sympathy with the protesters. She said: “I agree that there should be no development on this site and have made that position known, but it is a local matter.
“My understanding is that the local plan is also clear on this point. It is now up to the council to show that the local plan has teeth and I will do what I can to help.”
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