CAMPAIGNERS who spent years protesting against the development of Birds Marsh Wood will not give up their fight against housebuilders despite one development already going ahead.

Although the Friends of Birds Marsh say there are silver linings with the development of up to 750 homes in Birds Marsh View by a number of developers under the Chippenham Consortium brand, including the creation of 306 jobs, the group hope that the development won’t set a precedent for planners.

Toby Shirazian, a member of the group said: “We are upset by the development at Birds Marsh but we would like to make sure that there are no future development on this site and that this one development does not set a precedent for others.

“Although we are disappointed that it is going ahead, there are some small silver linings in that the designated site is not as close to the wooded area as previously thought and it is a relatively small site compared to the previous submission,

“We are disappointed though that the development is going ahead on a greenbelt piece of land when there are lots of brownfield sites out there.

The Friends of Birds Marsh spoke to the developers which include Barratt Developments and Persimmon Homes, at their consultation nearly two years ago, who took in their concerns about the wildlife living in the woodlands.

Under the Chippenham Site Allocation Plan, developers were told they also had to provide for the long-term protection of the woodland.

“It’s been good to see that the wetter areas of the woodlands have been left alone but although there are silver linings we must not rest on our laurels.

“It is a big part of Chippenham, used by ramblers and dog walkers alike, and we don’t want to see any future developments encroach on this space.”

Russell Glimstead, managing director of Barratt Developments, said: “We’re pleased to report that work is underway at our Birds Marsh View development, which will bring much-needed homes to the area, as well as support many jobs during its construction.

"We are working hard to support local flora and fauna as our neighbours will see from our approved plans. We look forward to updating on our progress of Birds Marsh View over the coming months as work continues.”