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Town councillors boot out supermarket plan

(November 09, 2009)
REVISED plans for a supermarket development on part of Warminster's central car park have given Australian property company, Stockland, a second bite at the cherry of obtaining planning permission for their scheme.
But the plans have left a nasty taste in the mouths of Warminster town councillors who have rejected the proposal on the grounds of 'loss of amenity'.
During the 40 minute debate hardly a positive word was spoken in favour of the plan by the town's planning advisory committee.
Two public speakers also weighed in with objections.
Chris Montagu, from Warminster Civic Trust, told members that the new plan was unneeded, out of keeping and produced a net loss of 39 parking space.
"You can't put a quart into a pint pot - the Civic Trust does not support the application." he said.
"The trust unanimously voted against the proposal and tinkering with the scheme will not alter that view."
Warminster and Villages Development Trust chairman Michael Mounde believed the idea would lead to a maelstrom at the single entrance to the area when the amount of activity going on there is taken into account.
He questioned the accuracy of the company in suggesting that certain important agencies held a positive view of the application.
"The library service can speak for themselves but the CAB does not agree and has only agreed a notional allocation of space and the Tourist Information Centre doesn't support the proposal at all."
Cllr Tony Field, who chaired the meeting, said he had had a long conversation with a representative of the company and raised a number of objections.
He thought the town centre needed a rest from further upheaval, that the bus station in the car park would be compromised, the library/information building reduced in area and parking spaces lost.
Cllr Chris March said: "As far as the library is concerned it is already in keeping and I don't see this as any improvement.
"I don't like what I see. The delivery vehicles will cause difficulties and the car parking space figures don't add up.
"I'm quite unhappy about the financial position of the company - if it started work and had to stop we would be in total chaos."
  Mayor Tony Nicklin was most scathing.
"This is the plan of a crazy man," he said.
"I don't think Stockland have been truthful - they say 377 spaces but we have counted them one by one and I believe they are counting areas that are not formal parking spaces."
He pointed out that when stores such as Lidl, Safeway and the store on the Dents site arrived they will all have provided additional parking spaces but that Stockland wants to build on the town's main car park.
"This is not their car park it is our car park," he said.
"What will town centre shops do if the car park is full of supermarket shopper? - they will go out of business.
"The car park is for shoppers and visitors coming into Warminster and they will not want to fight with supermarket trolleys."

Steve Dancey, co-author of said: "You only need to travel around the country and look at some of the better planned shopping developments to see that major shopping outlets and their car parks need good access and egress and this plan does not provide that.
"The scheme is a recipe for a dogs breakfast, is hugely unpopular with people in the town and must be thrown out by the western planning committee when it meets.
"The only possible beneficiaries, other than Stockland's Antipodean shareholders, could be Wiltshire Council which might gain a significant capital receipt from the sale of the car park.
"If this application is approved the new chief executive of Wiltshire Council must launch an immediate investigation into how such a travesty, against the public interest, could have happened."

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