Councillor says Langley Park proposals do not address concerns

Councillor Chris Caswill has accused council planners of failing Chippenham by approving plans for Langley Park.

He agreed that a redevelopment of the site was crucial, but said: “Behind the good news that something is at last happening on the site, is the bad news that the planners have completely failed to address any of the issues that needed attention.

“This means more traffic problems in the town centre, not enough money from the development to deal with them, more pressure on local schools without the money needed to fund them, not enough open space for the new houses, no connection to the town centre and another kick in the teeth for those trying to make a go of the town centre shops.

“The county planning committee has failed the town once again. Chippenham and its residents and town centre businesses will now have to deal with the problems the planners ignored.”

At last week’s meeting Coun Caswill flagged up concern by the owners of Emery Gate’s that said the site is 900m away from the primary shopping area and separated by the railway and the river. They added that, according to the centre, “there is a very real risk that retail investment at Bath Road / Bridge Centre would be severely prejudiced”.

But council case officer Mark Staincliffe said: “We concluded a supermarket will not have an adverse effect on the town centre. We have no third party or council evidence this will happen.”

And Jo Davis, senior director at GVA, who led the planning process, claims to be confident the development will “encourage shoppers back to the high street”.

Tom Jacques, chairman of Chippenham Vision, which is trying to regenerate the town centre, said: “The lift over the railway line will increase links to the centre but not to the level our masterplan aspires to.

“At the moment the parking is completely on that [Hathaway] side of the railway line so any action to get to the town centre is long-winded.

“We want a single integrated car park linked across on both sides of the railway line.”

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