PEOPLE living in a road bedevilled with parking problems are celebrating after Wiltshire councillors turned down plans to turn a former school into six homes.

Darren Saunders of Estcourt Crescent, Devizes, who led the battle to stop the Diocese of Salisbury converting Southbroom School House, was delighted that the eastern area planning committee refused the scheme despite it having the backing of officers.

Mr Saunders said: "We are very grateful to the councillors, especially Sue Evans, who was the person who asked for the plan to be called in so it could go to committee and then spoke about the worries of residents. The town councillors have also been absolutely fantastic in their support.

"We are not against the building being converted into homes just the lack of parking. We expect there will be either a revised plan or an appeal but we will have to wait and see."

Just before the start of the planning meeting at the Corn Exchange in Devizes on Thursday the diocese attempted to revise its plan to include an extra parking space but this was not allowed.

A report to the meeting pointed out that Estcourt Crescent suffered badly from parking problems. It said: "Estcourt Crescent is not only used by local residents, but is currently heavily used by other people who park for long periods during the day if they can find a space, and who work in the town centre."

It was also noted that people visiting a nearby dentist surgery used the road for parking.

But officers recommended the conversion of the former school should be allowed.

Before the meeting Mr Saunders said: "The diocese which owns the site has put forward plans for six residential properties, for 20 people. The development only has six parking spaces, half the number that a new build of this size would need.

"In an area which is already over capacity for parking and struggles with congestion how can Wiltshire Council even consider an application like this?

"This is the second application the Diocese have submitted, they are fully aware of the objections raised by concerned residents, but has chosen to ignore them.

"The Diocese is putting profit over the community they say they support."

A spokesman for the Diocese said: "We were obviously very disappointed in the result of the Area Committee meeting. We will now discuss how to revise the plans with our professional advisors, and as part of that process, we will be seeking to proactively engage with local residents in order to address or obviate their concerns.”