Committee members fail to acknowledge disabled people's needs and give takeaway thumbs-up(May 22, 2015)
(this story will be included in the next Visionforwarminster leaflet in July)
WARMINSTER East's three independent councillors were disappointed that their Conservative colleagues on the town planning advisory committee failed to stand up for the needs of elderly and disabled people in the town on Monday.
A planning application to change the use of the old Moreton's shop into yet another Indian takeaway was given the blessing of the council even though the operation of a takeaway in this location could significantly inconvenience old and disabled bus users.
Cllr Steve Dancey, who asked for the application to be rejected said: "I was somewhat nonplussed by the comments of some Conservative councillors who seem to know so little about planning.
"The needs of old and disabled people have to be taken into account by planners as they are a group of acknowledged importance so the idea of having a takeaway next to a busy bus stop set my alarm bells ringing.
"Ineveitably, given the East Street experience, a significant proportion of the people who use these type of places will park inconsiderately and block the bus pull in - making it impossible for the bus to draw up properly aligned with the exit adjacent to the raised kerb.
"There is already an example of this problem near the fire station but the blue team just didn't want to listen. They were busy parroting on about the needs to fill up vacant shops, though that in itself isn't a planning consideration.
"Even if it was the arrival of an Indian takeaway, which doesn't open until 5pm, will do little, if anything, to boost the vibrancy and vitality of Warminster's dire town centre shopping offer."
The decision to pass the plan and thereby ignore the needs of elderly and disabled people was led by councillor Andrew Davis.
Cllr Paul Macdonald said, "Once again councillor Andrew Davis wearing his county council hat was out of step with the three Independent councillors in his ward standing up for people who use buses and live above the shops in the town centre.
"I will be following his future votes with interest. I hoped he would help us with guidance to policy that stops this sort of thing."
East ward resident Margaret Broughton commented ' I am sorry to say that the 'blue voters' on the TC are greatly contributing to the decline of the Town centre here.
With the proposed opening of ANOTHER takeaway in the main street producing more litter, late night opening and car parking almost on the bus stop, it is a crazy decision.'