There were cheers when an application to build 46 houses on land next to Rabley Wood View in Marlborough was thrown out by Wiltshire Council's Eastern Area planning committee.
Guy and Ben Sangster, sons of the late horse racing tycoon Robert Sangster, submitted an outline planning application to build on Wiltshire Council-owned land, which includes a children’s play area, used for recreation.
To compensate for the loss of the recreation land, the Sangsters applied for change of use for 14 hectares of nearby agricultural land, which the river Og runs through, to a nature park with part of it drained to provide a replacement kick about space.
Both applications were heard and rejected on Thursday despite Wiltshire Council‘s planning officer initially recommending that the plans be accepted.
The change of use application was discussed first and was rejected because of the impact the kick about area would have on the landscape.
During the debate it was revealed that the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust had offered to take over management of the nature park.
Coun Nick Fogg said: “The creation of the kick about area, as it is referred to, could well have a very damaging affect on the overall environment and that’s not my opinion necessary, it’s the opinion of Action for the River Kennet who have worked very hard to create this sustainable river corridor, so I take them very seriously.
“If they say this scheme won’t work I’m happy to endorse that. Richard Cosker [agent for the Manton Estate] and colleagues hardly referred to at all the ecological affect of the draining of this kick about area and I find that is crucial.
“You’re disturbing the environment in what I think is an unacceptable way.”
The committee went on to discuss the suitability for the development of 46 homes, in principle, but one of the conditions was that a suitable replacement for the recreation ground was made available.
The outcome of the previous application caused the Wiltshire Council planning officer to change the recomendation to refusal.
Marlborough town councillor Mervin Hall said: “It’s very difficult to see how a suitable piece of compensatory land of tha sort of size can be found anywhere else in the vicinity of this estate.
“We in Marlborough recognise the need to provide more housing but it needs to be suitably located and this locations is considered to be wholly unsuitable.”
The outline planning application was rejected unanimously because the recreation ground could not be replaced by equivalent or better provisions in a suitable location.