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Experienced Councillor objects to farmland housing

(December 28, 2016)

CLLR STEVE DANCEY'S objection to the latest Home Farm application

'I object to this proposal for a variety of reasons - most importantly because it is not in the best interests of Warminster.

I speak as a resident of almost 60 years' standing and someone who has represented the whole of the town during some of that time - initially as a county councillor for Warminster West in the 1980s and now as a town councillor representing the east ward.

I live in the heart of the town over a mile from the site so cannot be considered a 'nimby' in any way.

Warminster is required to find space for hundreds of new homes over the coming years and such development will change the nature of the community and put pressure on services.

The challenge is to find the most suitable locations for these homes and it is right (as the least worst option) that the vast bulk of them must be sited as near as possible to the A36 and access for the Poole, Frame, Bath and Trowbridge directions.

This is because out-commuting by Warminster residents is overwhelmingly to these directions and destinations.

To build 135 dwellings at Home Farm would mean that a significant number of the residents of these Home Farm dwellings would need to travel through Warminster's already congested streets morning and evening to reach main roads and would add to existing well documented problems.  

The county policy of herding development to the Western side would also provide a better outome for education provision as a new primary school will be built to cater for basic need.

No new school would be forthcoming from the Home Farm application - all it would do would pile on overcrowding pressure at St John's in years to come.

There is a huge need for a joined up approach to development in Warminster and the county council's plans allow for this.

Over the last 30 years development, especially in the west of Warminster, has been poorly planned to the extent that there are very few local community facilities in this area and it lacks a sense of identity.

To allow this development would open up the flood gates to speculative development at similarly unsuitable sites all around the town and threaten the joined up approach currently being facilitated via currently agreed planning policies.

This site is of course outside the town's settlement boundary and cannot in any way be considered an exception site. In addition the development of this site would rob the area of some of its very best agricultural land.

Much may be made of a a suggested shortfall in housing allocation in Warminster but past experience shows there is a steady stream of windfall sites available in Warminster and, as now, when land prices are relatively high, such sites tend to come forward at an even faster rate.

I'm afraid the attitude of some people in Warminster has been very divisive of late as they are seemingly keen to set east against west and for reasons of perhaps spite, ignorance, envy or simple stupidity, have seen fit to give their support or encouragement.

I, like many Warminster natives, would be very dismayed if this site were ever developed as it would lead to the degredation of Warminster, Boreham and Bishopstrow as separately identified communities.

I am sure some of your more enlighted and cerebral councillors will see fit to reject this application and I would urge you to recommend refusal in your report.'

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