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University plan gets go ahead for Corsham site
Bath Spa University has gained planning permission to build a new postgraduate education centre on a dilapidated part of the Hartham Park Estate in Corsham.
The university, whose main base is at Newton Park in Bath, offers three teacher education programmes running from different campuses.
These will be brought together onto one campus at Hartham Park.
The university will build a non-residential 350 seat lecture building and an Art Barn, designed to host 600 trainee teachers, as well as a new maintenance and energy centre.
Planning permission for the redevelopment of this area existed prior to Bath Spa University’s application and this permission included provision for 365 parking spaces.
Concerns over the proposals were raised at a planning meeting on Wednesday August 21 from local residents worried about vehicles turning left out of the estate towards Biddestone.
Resident Peter Rouse, who spoke about traffic in Hartham Lane, said: “There are many parked cars and because there are no garages much of the road is a single traffic lane.
“It’s been getting more and more difficult because of the increase of traffic. My suggestion is that access to Hartham Park is only from the A4 and is not made through Biddestone at all.”
Biddestone Parish councillor Ashley Juniper said: “We already have high traffic volumes at peak traffic times when the roads are used as a short cut from Corsham to the A4.
“There have already been serious accidents, including a fatal accident and we don’t wish to see road safety jeopardised.”
Wiltshire councillors who voted for the application also attached several conditions to this, including instructions for Bath Spa University to consult with Biddestone Parish Council over site plans.
Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott, who represents the By Brook division, said delivery and construction vehicles should enter the site from the main A4 and have no exit through the north of Hartham Lane.
She said: “This is a very important scheme and I have worked very closely with Bath Spa University on the development and I think it’s something we cannot afford to lose.
“I have represented Biddestone for many years and I feel that the people this big and exciting project affects need to have a public voice. I feel that perhaps the consultation that has happened has been connected with Corsham and not Biddestone.
“I just think we need to work together to come to a compromise which will allow us to move forward in a successful way.”
Professor Christina Slade, vice-chancellor of Bath Spa University, said: “We are going to be able to bring new technology and skills to schools in Wiltshire. We see ourselves as part of the community hoping to bring an extensive learning development to this extremely beautiful countryside.
“We know how to get it right. At Newton Park we have worked so well with those living nearby that they are now part of our community attending our events and engaging with students and staff.”
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