Save our Country park
Over 10 years ago Wainhomes agreed to build our town a country park on the green space near Brynards Hill in return for planning permission. You can read more about the 2010 proposals and the campaign to protect the land here https://sites.google.com/site/wb4bhorg/home
Wainhomes have had more than a decade to keep their promises but failed to create the park as originally agreed.
New proposal to build on the Country park
The proposal (ref. 20/011655/FUL) was listed on Wiltshire council’s planning portal in spring 2021 for comments from the public before being assessed by the Planning officer. Here's a really helpful Woodshaw Meadows blog about Wainhomes’ legal obligations to our town and a summary of the many objections to the development based on Wiltshire council's planning policies
You can read the objections from our town council, Thames Water and more as well as a petition with 200+ signatures and over 300 individual residents’ comments on the proposed development on the planning website here (scroll down to the bottom to see the comments from individuals under ‘Representations Letters’) https://unidoc.wiltshire.gov.uk/UniDoc/Document/Search/DSA,918372
How did Wainhomes respond?
Residents were informed in July 2021 that Wainhomes have submitted revised plans. The application now includes ‘Hancock’s Water’ area, which is not even owned by Wainhomes plus a revised access road which is still too narrow and even more dangerous as it now runs through children's play areas. You can read about the continuing problems with the revised plans and the objections to them on the updated 'Woodshaw Meadows' blog https://woodshawmeadows.wordpress.com/
Wainhomes haven’t addressed the many objections made by over 600 residents, our town council and numerous other organisations. In fact they are so certain that they will obtain planning permission they put up a display board of ‘Woodshaw Meadows Country park’ near the play park area in 2021. This map includes the housing estate that Wainhomes do not have permission to build.
The board is presumably meant to attract house buyers. It also promotes the site as a haven for animals - whilst Wainhomes disregards objections to the new development from residents, our town council and the Ecology officer because of the harm it will do to our local wildlife.
What's happening now?
In March 2022 residents were told that Wainhomes had submitted another set of revisions. The deadline to respond was the 13th April although the planning officer has said that he'll accept representations up to the point of determination. We’ve been advised that the new plans are mainly concerned with the flood calculations so it will be up to the engineers at Wessex Water, Network Rail and the Environmental Agency to challenge these. However, it's still worth contacting the council even if you’ve already responded in the past to state that all of your previous comments still apply and the application should be refused. It just takes a few minutes to respond on the website. Please go to the Comments tab and have your say on https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000014exKa/2011655ful
Is there anything more we can do?
We’ve been advised that our best chance to protect the land is to put the pressure on Wiltshire Council to pursue Wainhomes through the courts for the breach of the s106 agreement – their legal agreement to build the country park all those years ago. If you can, please send a letter, because they have a greater impact than emails, to politely insist that Wiltshire Council complies with its statutory duty to enforce the s106 agreement by taking Wainhomes to court.
Please write to;
Mr Terence Herbert, Chief Executive, Wiltshire Council, County Hall, Bythesea Rd, Trowbridge BA14 8JN and copy in Councillor Richard Clewer at the same address.
It is Wiltshire Council’s responsibility to prevent Wainhomes from ignoring the law. There are over 13,000 residents in our town. If just a fraction of us send these letters, they will have an impact, they will grab the attention of the decision makers. They will demonstrate that we are willing to stand up and demand our legal rights. Please share this information and website with your contacts to help protect our park from Wainhomes.
What we want Wainhomes to do
We want Wainhomes to meet its legal obligations to our community and deliver the country park it has repeatedly promised to do over the last 10 years.
We want Wainhomes to consult properly with residents to determine what we want for our country park. For example, we would like it to include safe play areas for children, walking paths and a key cycle route linking the old dairy estate to Interface that will allow cyclists to avoid the busy main roads. We want to see the area managed for the benefit of our local wildlife and to increase biodiversity.
We want a commitment from Wainhomes that they will stop trying to encroach any further on the designated area and will not put in any more planning applications to build more homes on this land.
What happens next?
The planning officer will make a recommendation on whether or not to approve the proposal. Based on Wainhomes’ previous tactics, they will probably try to appeal any judgement that goes against them. As the case is so complex, the planning inspectorate may require the appeal to be heard at an informal hearing or a formal inquiry.
Although Wiltshire Council would be the main party at an appeal, there can be submissions and representations by other interested parties such as neighbours, town councils and residents groups – as long as they have previously submitted their comments to the proposal. In similar cases, residents groups have raised funds to appoint a team and be heard at the inquiry. This could include a planning consultant or solicitor and perhaps a specialist such as a hydrological engineer to comment on the flooding risk. If the appeal is dealt with at a formal inquiry this could require a barrister.
If we want to protect our greenspace we may need to think of this as a marathon rather than a sprint. Whilst we wait for the next stage, this gives us time to share information about the proposal development throughout our town and build up support to save our country park.
We’ll update this page and our Facebook group when we hear any news about the proposal. Watch this space….
The proposed development is shown as already built on this Wainhomes map (area marked with a red arrow)
Posters created by our members to raise awareness about the proposed development