Devizes town councillors have unanimously agreed to oppose plans to redevelop the home of voluntary sector support organisation Community First for housing after the mayor received numerous complaints from neighbours.
Mayor Pete Smith told last week’s meeting of the town council’s planning committee he had been inundated with concerns from residents over the proposals to build four town houses on part of its car park as part of a bid to move Community First to more affordable premises elsewhere in the town.
But Coun Smith said he had serious reservations.
He said: “I had numerous phone calls on this subject so I went round to have a look for myself.
“People living in the new houses will be able to look into the bedrooms and kitchens of homes in Moyne Close. Also, the kids at St Joseph’s School will get no sunlight at all. There must be a good planning reason to object to this plan, probably invasion of privacy.
“Please support me on rejecting this scheme. I think it is crazy and would be a disaster.”
The committee voted unanimously to object to the plan on the grounds of invasion of privacy but the final decision will belong to Wiltshire Council’s eastern area planning committee.
But the committee will only be asked to discuss it if it is “called in” by a local Wiltshire councillor, otherwise planning officers will use delegated powers to approve or reject it.
Community First, formerly the Community Council for Wiltshire, has been at Wyndhams in St Joseph’s Place for more than 30 years but chief executive Philippa Read said the building was too big and costly to run. The charity employs 60 staff, of whom about 35 are based at Wyndhams.
If planning permission is granted, Community First would sell Wyndhams and use the money to rent or buy an office, probably in Devizes.