PEOPLE have hit out at what they describe as ridiculous proposals for a swathe of potential houses in Devizes.

Part of Wiltshire Police’s county HQ on London Road, Devizes, is to be sold because it has not used for years - and could be marketed with planning permission for homes.

The green area to the north, between Parkfields and Quakers Road, is no longer required, and the proceeds of any sale will be invested back into front line staffing and associated facilities.

The decision came after Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Wiltshire and Swindon Angus Macpherson reviewed all police sites and associated buildings as part of his Estates Strategy 2017-21.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: An image showing a type of development the site could holdAn image showing a type of development the site could hold

He has now been forced to defend the decision to earmark land off Park Fields for a potential development.

Many local residents still remember when the land was used by the police to train police dogs. Family days and even fireworks used to take place at the now fenced off land.

Fears have been raised that potential housing, with initial proposals suggesting at least 50 home, on the land could cause traffic mayhem.

Malcolm Tanner, who lives on Park Fields, said: “The road is narrow and all the junctions are right-angled, tight, narrow and abrupt, often made worse by parked vehicles. Large vehicles have difficulty in negotiating the corners. Some years ago we received fliers from the Fire Authority warning that their vehicles would not have access to Parkfield in an emergency.” Refuse lorries habitually drive over paths and grass areas because they are unable to keep to the road on the corners and bends.

"Even small cars cannot negotiate the junction of Parkfield Terrace and Roundway Park simultaneously in opposite directions.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The site is now fenced offThe site is now fenced off

Norman Allan, who has lived on Park Fields for 30 years, added: “Young people do need houses and I am not objecting to more housing, but the style of housing.”

Other residents have lamented the potential loss of local wildlife such as badgers and red kites.

They have suggested the PCC instead create a community space in the land, rather than more housing.

In a recent council meeting, fiery discussion surrounded the standard of the plans and the effect it could have on local roads.

Councillor Judy Rose, who represents South ward, said: “One thing that is quite clear is that this will bring further congestion to London Road.

“Trying to negotiate any large vehicles such as fire engines or ambulances could be a nightmare. The amount of traffic likely to come piling out onto London Road really doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Cllr Chris Greenwood, who represents North ward, echoed this, and he added that the PCC had been “incredibly short sighted”.

He added: “A development of this extent will actually restrict their own vehicles from leaving and entering the premises .The idea of putting further traffic onto that road is ridiculous, Devizes has been crying out for a bypass for years, and this is a prime example of why we need one.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The site used to host a cricket pavilionThe site used to host a cricket pavilion

The Town Council decided to form a steering group to fully investigate and feedback on the plans.

To have your say, go to before January 18.

Mr Macpherson said: “As part of my Estates Strategy, the Force sites and associated buildings were reviewed and assessed. It recognised that some areas were no longer fit for purpose for effective policing and as such, were identified for modernisation or disposal. To the north of our Headquarters site in Devizes there is an area of land between Quakers Road and Parkfield. This has not been utilised since its attainment so therefore has been identified as no longer required and will be sold.

“Any financial returns from the sale of the area will get invested back into front line staffing and associated facilities, helping to shape the force into one fit for modern policing in Swindon and Wiltshire.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Angus MacphersonAngus Macpherson

“I am duty bound to seek the maximum return from any sale of our Estate and in order to get the best value for the land when it’s sold, an outline planning application for a residential development will be sought. This planning application will include detailed ecology and transport assessments which will identify any existing issues relating to wildlife and traffic and address any impact that the development might have.

"The local residents and wider community are being engaged and informed remotely due to current government guidelines and given the opportunity to provide feedback on the designs available on my website.

“All feedback received will be relayed back to the design team for consideration ahead of a formal planning application.”