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Area board dominated by out of towners

(March 06, 2010)
THURSDAY evening's Warminster Area Board was a depressing event - partly because it revealed, as  expected, how erudite and well-connected people from the villages will dominate and also that some councillors have already 'joined the club'.
It is, after all, the Warminster Area Board and the town has two-thirds of the board area's population.
One area of agreement was the request for a new roundabout to serve the Copheap Lane, Portway and Westbury Road bottleneck in town.
However when cllr Pip Ridout asked for the 30mph limit to be extended to the edge of the town she was shot down in flames.
Out of town councillors Fleur de Rhe Philipe (who lives in Upton Scudamore) and Chris Newbury (who lives in Westbury) immediately spoke against.
''Put it too far out and it will be ignored'' said the Upton Scudamore representative while Christopher Newbury suggested it should be for officers' 'professional' advice.
''The past four county councillors have all tried to get something done about the speed limit on Westbury Road since 1989,'' said Steve Dancey, who is one of the four.
''Since 1989 the number of closes built on the southern side of the road has increased dramatically and along with them the potential for road traffic accidents.
''We should have the right to expect our local counillors to back up the local community and local member not toe the county council line because they have joined the club.
''The sad fact is that cllrs Philipe and Newbury are probably right as this council isn't even prepared to reduce the speed limit outside Wiltshire's first academy where 1,400 pupils will be milling out on to a busy road,with a 40mph limit, from September.''
The second depressing facet was the professional presentation from the Upper Deverills and their desire for better broadband speed and investment.
It was very professional - especially with the former chief executive of the Astor Group (umbrella company for Testway, Mendip and Sarson Housing) Richard Kitson behind it. He will know which levers to pull and where the grant pots are, so expect the campaign to be a success.
They do have a point though as broadband speed in the Upper Deverills is half a meg and (according to my son, who knows about these things) we get two megs in the middle of Warminster.
A representative of Warminster based Digital Solutions who was at the meeting suggested that the campaign is unnecessary as mobile broadband could provide the necessary speed.
Mr Kitson said this wouldn't cater for much higher speeds required in future and also that large receiver dishes would not be appropriate in an AONB setting.
''I would suggest to people who have moved into the Deverills that if they live in a rural location they can't necessarily expect all urban amenities - perhaps they should move to Surrey,'' said Steve Dancey.
''I don't see why poor people who live in towns and struggle to afford essential landline telephones should be forced to pay a 50p levy each month to enhance services for wealthy people living in the countryside.''
Digital Solutions can be ontacted on

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