Be Prepared But Be Positive(November 03, 2012)
Warminster could face another winter of discontent as a land management company has put the fear of overdevelopment into the minds of a close-knit community exacerbated by a councillor failing to allay their concerns.
"I was astonished when I read what the local county councillor said," says former coucillor Paul Macdonald.
"Cllr Davis was in the best position at the East Boreham Residents Action Group meeting to encourage the residents with the facts rather than state that 'until a planning application is logged with a number I cannot take any further action'."
Hallam Land Management have their eyes on the land at Home Farm off the Boreham Road on the Salisbury side of town.
They have a commercial incentive in getting this area accepted as being suitable to accommodate 320 houses on the land towards Battlesbury Hill and the army camp.
They held a town centre meeting being criticised by locals for very little notice through a small advert in the local paper. EBRAG was re-launched with its own meeting attended by 130 residents.
"If I had been able to attend the St. John's church meeting it would have been an interesting debate with Cllr. Davis," adds Paul. "He said 'I have investigated this'. Well so have I."
"I would have pointed out that this land has been rejected by Wiltshire Council in favour of the more sustainable land for 900 homes and a major school improvement on the other side of town."
Wiltshire Council are duty bound by the government to produce a local strategic plan which covers everything from housing to education.
"In 2009 a public consultation was held. Aware of previous attempts I went and 'post it' objected. Of course the speculators were entitled to chance their arm and propose it," said Paul who served on the district council planning committee for four years.
"But I would have reminded Cllr. Davis in the next round of consultation started this July it related only to any changes to the 'core strategy'.
"I would have asked him if he was aware that with the 900 homes agreed and almost certain to be adopted that this left a shortfall of less than 200 which means that 320 is unacceptable without starting the whole process again from scratch.
"The Home Farm land again was not accepted. So the document will be finalised this month without any mention of it as an option when it is sent to the government for them to hold an examination in public."
The EIP will be held this winter and responses to the Wiltshire Council submission will be considered by an independent planning Inspector appointed by the government minister.
"If I was still a local councillor I would have offered at the EBRAG meeting to find out what responses may be forwarded with regard to this historically opposed area for development," said Paul
"I would have promised to attend the EIP to argue for the local residents opposing this. Be prepared but be positive would have been my message."
*'You Say - We Say' has a full account of the EBRAG meeting by correspondent Danny Howell
*'It Made the Headlines' has a link to Danny Howell's website which has photos of the EBRAG meeting