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NDO victory for common sense - Tales from the river bank

(June 12, 2013)

THERE was a rare piece of good news for those fighting the advance of concrete and asphalt in Warminster when, on Monday evening, the town council's town development committee turned down a proposal for a council backed self-build housing estate.

The vote safeguards three acres of meadow land on the northern bank of the River Wylye at Boreham crossroads which has been owned by the hugely wealthy Holdaway family for the past half century at least.

Past proposals for this land included a motel and a caravan park.

Independent councillor Steve Dancey, said: "The case against the Neighbourhood Development Order was pretty strong - though there were a couple of points in favour they were heavily outweighed by the disavantages.

"I spoke to highlight just three main points, hammering home the point that the River Wylye is a rural river for its entire length and it would be sad if Warminster was responsible for ending this, that the NDO was unfair as it aided and advantaged those with special wealth and knowledge to the detrimant of the majority of the population plus it would set a precedent for development outside the established town boundary.

"It also became clear that the NDO process would have involved considerable officer time at Warminster Town Council with little advantage to the local community.

"I also reminded councillors that the whole matter would need  to be put to a local referendum and that I was 100 per cent confident of defeating the idea at a vote.

"So why waste money on a scheme that was opposed by local councillors elected on 2 May?"

Steve's points were reinforced by another newly elected Independent councillor who told the meeting that on May 2nd the electors had sent a clear message.

"I reminded the other councillors that this is definitely not supported and that I topped the poll with this as one of my key election promises about what happens in future in our ward," adds Paul Macdonald.

"This was I believe another government 'back of a fag packet soundbite' policy that was being used at totally the wrong site."

* Older residents may well recall the Holdaway building company. Many former employees still reside in the town (I spoke to two about this application) and at one time the firm ran two coaches for workers from Warminster to Westbury where it was in competition with Parsons for the title of the area's biggest building company. It enjoyed some big contracts including buildings for the garrison in Warminster and the huge Bulbridge estate for Salisbury and Wilton RDC in the early 1960s. It was generally regarded as a good employer  and trained scores of apprentices in the building trade.

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