townviewHot TOPICS town h clean 

Damaging planning application threatens nature reserve and river system

(May 20, 2012)
A MAJOR planning application in Warminster threatens to damage a river system of acknowledged importance and overshadow an important nature reserve, says an experienced former councillor.
Paul Macdonald has joined residents in condemning the application in Damask Way which not only flattens a perfectly good home but bulldozes its way through planning rules.
"I am pleased that the current local member Andrew Davis has called this one in," said Paul Macdonald. "If he has called it in to oppose then great. If not then I think he should."
A quiet cul-de-sac surrounded by quiet fields where horses graze, foxes and rabbits are amongst the natural inhabitants, and a long established nature reserve as a neighbour is now under threat.
"Enough is enough," claims former planning committee member Paul Macdonald. "This is a fishing expedition that could open the floodgates.
"Currently district planning demands a sustainable balance between the demands of speculators and environmental protection."
Paul is a respected former councillor for the work that he put in to planning that is now the bible when deciding planning applications in Warminster. Land off Damask Way is the target.
"John Syme and I recognised that we needed a rural buffer zone to protect the town and the Smallbrook Nature Reserve and the River Wylye were important factors.
"I cannot attend the town council meeting  night when they discuss this housing application which as it is 'outline' could open up a can of worms that others can then use to use for other fishing expeditions.
"The district plan has plenty of ammunition with phrases like 'views into and out of the settlements ...Warminster' and 'other natural features of the landscape which are of value to wildlife' for Cllr. Davis to use.
"Another is 'permission will not be granted for works affecting a river."
There is another issue that Paul has always championed. Unbalanced development for which there is no current policy for Warminster but for which he has argued for as co-author of visionforwarminster for years.
"More housing to the west," challenges Paul. "Inadequate community services to the east. Recipe for a planning disaster. We do not need 900 more homes in the shadow of Cley Hill let alone the floodgate this application will open if approved.
"There is an emerging 'Wiltshire Core Strategy' that calls for the 'potential for nutrient enrichment of aquatic systems; Warminster was identified as an area where this was a particular issue in the context of future growth'.
How will this help that strategy?"
The current planning document is very clear on an important issue.

"I know it says permission will not be granted for works affecting a river as the rivers and watercourses are important for water quality and nature conservation,

"Do we want to save the River Wylye and River Were or not is another question I pose.

"It feels like goundhog day to me twenty years on!"

Click here to return to the HOT TOPICS page