Friends of Birds Marsh defiant after Chippenham homes plan approved

This Is Wiltshire: Some of the Friends of Birds Marsh pictured after winning village green status against developers Some of the Friends of Birds Marsh pictured after winning village green status against developers

The Friends of Birds Marsh campaigners say they will continue to fight a development of 750 houses in northern Chippenham and have defended the village green status they fought for.

Last Wednesday Wiltshire Council approved, in principle, the development that will be mainly on green fields between Birds Marsh and Hill Corner Road. The plan generated 105 letters of objection and three of support.

It includes a new main road link running between the A350 Malmesbury Road and the B4069 Maud’s Heath Causeway.

Developers say it is a chance for economic growth and will reduce the number of lorries going through the town centre.

Martin Naylor, a spokesman for Friends of Birds Marsh, told councillors it would turn Chippenham into a large dormitory town.

He said: “We are disappointed but we don’t see this as the end of the fight.

"It is only outline permission and we are going to continue our campaign against this development.”

Originally the plans included management of the wood by Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

But the promise of new woodland facilities was removed after Birds Marsh was granted village green status, applied for by the Friends, which developers said prevents any management by law.

At the meeting, Nick Watts, councillor for Chippenham Hardenhuish, said: “I have been appalled at the Friends of Birds Marsh’s smugness in their victory. They have lost the plot.”

Afterwards, Mr Naylor said: “We still say the village green status is essential to protect the wood.

"Nick Watts thinks that because we pushed through our application for the status we weren’t thinking about the good of the woods, but we don’t believe they should be heavily managed.

“They’ve done fine over the past 30 years. We don’t want management groups going in there making paths and sending the wildlife away.”

One of the conditions of approval is that the freehold of Birds Marsh is transferred to Wiltshire Council to secure its future maintenance.

Coun Watts still voted against approval, saying the development was too large and the view from Birds Marsh View would be lost.

At least 2,625 new houses have to be built in Chippenham over the next 12 years, according to the modified Wiltshire Core Strategy.

Coun Tony Peacock, who campaigned against a development at Showell, said since consultation on where extra housing should be delivered only began last Monday, the decision should be deferred.

Comments (5)

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6:57pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Happy Smiler says...

When I was a boy in Chippenham over fifty five years ago ,I and many others would gather daffodils in Birds Marsh and take them home for our Mothers.
To destroy what in those days was regarded as our secret garden, would be a grave sin.
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I know longer live in the U,K,but when I have visited over the years I have been appalled at the way Chippenham has been destroyed by the lack of thought and planning by the people who have allowed the destruction of what was a very happy market town .
Gilbert Verity, ex of Yewstock Crescent., Now in a working village on the N.East coast of Crete...............
......
When I was a boy in Chippenham over fifty five years ago ,I and many others would gather daffodils in Birds Marsh and take them home for our Mothers. To destroy what in those days was regarded as our secret garden, would be a grave sin. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I know longer live in the U,K,but when I have visited over the years I have been appalled at the way Chippenham has been destroyed by the lack of thought and planning by the people who have allowed the destruction of what was a very happy market town . Gilbert Verity, ex of Yewstock Crescent., Now in a working village on the N.East coast of Crete............... ...... Happy Smiler
  • Score: 6

8:08pm Wed 23 Apr 14

chipman14 says...

Smiler, sad but true. However perhaps the people of Chippenham should ask themselves why they keep re electing the same group of people to run the town council . Whilst the the current majority group remain in control I dont see things changing. Thats if they bother turn up of course (see today's other town council story)! Just my opinion.
Smiler, sad but true. However perhaps the people of Chippenham should ask themselves why they keep re electing the same group of people to run the town council . Whilst the the current majority group remain in control I dont see things changing. Thats if they bother turn up of course (see today's other town council story)! Just my opinion. chipman14
  • Score: 11

1:04pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Friend of the People says...

What happened to all that talk about Tory Localism. Guess it went same way as "Vote Blue, Go Green".
What happened to all that talk about Tory Localism. Guess it went same way as "Vote Blue, Go Green". Friend of the People
  • Score: 6

3:07pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Frederick116 says...

Get over it and move on, it's going to happen.
Get over it and move on, it's going to happen. Frederick116
  • Score: -4

3:08pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Frederick116 says...

Get over it and move on. It's going to happen
Get over it and move on. It's going to happen Frederick116
  • Score: -4

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