Calne campaigners take fight to appeal direct

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: ampaigners outside Wiltshire Council’s Monkton park offices in Chippenham. 						        (VS194) PICTURE BY VICKY SCIPIO ampaigners outside Wiltshire Council’s Monkton park offices in Chippenham. (VS194) PICTURE BY VICKY SCIPIO

Residents fighting against plans for 125 houses and a care home at Marden Farm in Calne have presented their views at an appeal hearing to a Government planning inspector.

The appeal against refusal of planning permission by developers Gleeson is not being fought by Wiltshire Council, due to a change in the number of houses needed to built as part of the Core Strategy.

Instead residents from the South Calne Residents Association told Government planning inspector John Braithwaite of their fears about the development directly.

Gleeson plan to demolish a bungalow in Stockley Lane to create a main access road to the site, but objectors say this will create a dangerous point in the road.

They are concerned over air quality issues, flooding, and the fact that other lanes through Blacklands, Stockley and Heddington could be used as a rat-run to avoid town centre traffic.

They argued that south Calne is the wrong place for development and residents should be able to determine future developments through a neighbourhood plan.

Anne Henshaw, from CPRE said: “It would seriously compromise the ability of the local community to determine where further housing growth should take place.

“Calne is emerging from a bleak past and its regeneration could so easily be destroyed by continued, forced, unbalanced development. That is demonstrable harm.”

Calculations from planning consultancy iTransport, which says the development will lead to 1,000 extra vehicle movements in the area per day, also caused some alarm for residents.

Mark Gimingham, from iTransport, said 95 per cent of these vehicles would head north and go through the A4 Stockley Lane junction.

However, this would only lead to a 4.3 per cent increase in traffic in the centre of town.

Gleeson has agreed to pay Section 106 money as part of the development, including allocations of £24,278 for a new footpath in the area and £200,000 to reduce council costs for bus services.

Jacqueline Mulliner, from urban design group Terence O’Rourke, said it was inevitable that the development would lead to an increase in traffic. Gleeson says it would have a low emissions strategy and it would contribute to the process of creating an effective air quality management zone in Calne.

Harriet Shannon, of The Knowle, said: “Can all the following people be wrong? Calne Town Council have said no, Calne Without Parish Council have said no, and Heddington Parish Council have said no.

“The councillors at the meeting of the strategic planning committee unanimously said no, 150 residents plus have said no, and the CPRE.

“Have all these people been listened to? If the answer is yes, why are we here today?”

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