Welcome to the Rudloe and environs website.
Here you will find news, articles and photos of an area that straddles the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in north-west Wiltshire.
Contributions in the form of articles or photos are welcome. Even those with completely contrary views to mine!
Thanks to the website builder 1&1 and Rob Brown for the original idea.
Rudloescene now, in January 2014, has a sister, academic rather than anarchic, website about Box history here: http://www.boxpeopleandplaces.co.uk/
It contains thoroughly professional, well-researched articles about Box and its people.
Contact rudloescene through the 'Contact' page.
In the Stafford/Daw/Gladman/Redrow 'development' fields at Pickwick, the title pictures show the copper beech in a mass of oilseed rape in 2013 and, remarkably on 18th July 2018, the return of sheep
11th January 2021 - The Planning Inquiry for the 150-home development proposal 'Land North of Bath Road, Corsham, Wiltshire SN13 0QL' (otherwise known as the outrageous Stafford/Gladman speculative application) will now be held online as a 'virtual event' on 26th January 2021 commencing at 10 o'clock. Details may be found in Wiltshire Council's notification letter dated 8th January 2021 in the .pdf file at the foot of this article. Some relevant information from this notification letter is reproduced below:
Anyone wishing to attend the Inquiry must make that interest known to the Planning Inspectorate Case Officer as soon as possible prior to the Inquiry, either by email or telephone after reading the Inquiry Attendance Information set out below.
When contacting the Case Officer, it would be helpful if you could confirm whether you want to take an active part in the discussions or anticipate attending just as an observer (see below).
Before deciding whether to take an active part in the Inquiry, you need to think carefully about the points you wish to make. All written submissions from application and appeal stage will be taken into account by the Inspector and re-stating the same points won’t add any additional weight to them.
If you feel that taking part in the Inquiry is right for you in whatever capacity, you can participate in a number of ways:
To take part using video, participants will need to have access to Microsoft Teams (via an app or web browser). This link gives further information on how to use this. https://support.office.com/en-us/teams
Alternatively you can take part by telephone. NB Calls would be to an 020 number which will incur charges. https://www.gov.uk/call-charges
If you just wish to observe the event, you should make that clear in your response to the Case Officer.
If you wish to take an active part in the proceedings, please make clear in your response the particular topic areas you are interested in.
If you want to take an active part but feel unable to for any reason, and/or the points you want to make are not covered in the evidence of others, consider whether someone else could raise them on your behalf.
Registered participants in whatever capacity will receive individual joining instructions, providing details of any requirements, guidance and support, whether joining by Teams or telephone.
26th January 2021 update
Here's the Teams online session in 'action'. I thought that the first day would be quite dry but, in fact, I found it quite fascinating. Tomorrow, mining experts, including Simon Hart of the Lovell Group, will be giving evidence so that should be interesting. There are four days scheduled this week plus supplementary days in February.
16th January 2020 - hardly believable news. Having had 'years' (effectively) to prepare for the current planning inquiry, Gladman requested a postponement in the afternoon of the first day - a request to which the inspector agreed! This was after the inspector had set out the four-day schedule and following the opening statements of the three legal representatives (one for Gladman, one for Wiltshire Council and one for the Pickwick Association) and a number of statements from local people and councillors.
Ostensibly, the postponement was requested because Gladman realised that the proposed foundation design was, in fact, unworkable (this has formed part of the Wiltshire Council (WC)/Pickwick Association (PA) argument all along). The upshot of such a situation should, of course, have been that the inspector found against the plaintiff (Gladman) but Gladman has been allowed to postpone when they realised that the inquiry was not going their way.
9th January 2020 - the planning inquiry on the Gladman speculation has been rescheduled to next Tuesday, 14th January 2020, at the Council Offices, Monkton Park, Chippenham SN15 1ER - see the adjacent photo of the notice which has been posted at a number of locations around the site.
Note that, as with the previous one, this inquiry may last for up to four days and that the proceedings between legal representatives acting for the parties involved and the inspector himself do tend to become very detailed.
However, the bottom line is that the speculation itself and the applicant's arguments are quite preposterous. Let's hope that the inspector comes to a sensible conclusion.
Who would want to buy a home above a working stone mine?
See also the Pickwick Association's notification of the inquiry in the .pdf file below.
27th June 2019 - note that the planning inquiry scheduled to start on 2nd July has been postponed due to the inspector being indisposed.
23rd June 2019 - a planning inquiry (yes another one!) on the Gladman speculation is scheduled to commence on Tuesday 2nd July 2019 at the Council Offices, Monkton Park. Details are given in the notice below. The inquiry is scheduled to last four days so will incur further significant costs to the ratepayer (while the Staffords of Pickwick Lodge Farm sit back and wait for their windfall whilst claiming significant subsidies at the expense of the taxpayer).
'Land is by far the greatest of monopolies. Consider the enrichment which comes to the landlord who happens to own a plot of land on the outskirts or at the centre of one of our great cities. The landowner need only wait while other people work and pay taxes to make the city grow more prosperous: building businesses, installing roads and railways, paying for schools and hospitals and public amenities. All the while the land monopolist has only to sit still and watch complacently his property multiplying in value, sometimes manifold, without either effort or contribution on his part; and that is justice!'. Any idea who wrote that? We won't go through the tortuous quiz route on this - it was Winston Churchill.
18th October 2018 - what a fabulous lie! I hadn't realised that the speculative, greenfield development proposed to the 'north of the Bath Road' (the Gladman/Redrow proposal) was to be called Burlington Grange. If you take a look at Redrow's website here Redrow website you will see that this proposal on which planning permission has lapsed and which is the subject of a Planning Inspectorate Hearing has been sold out! This non-existent estate is, apparently, a "popular development" so, if fact, there are two fabulous lies!
22nd September 2018 - Gladman's "cynical attempt" to avoid important planning conditions (planning application 18/02373/VAR) regarding the foundations of their proposed, speculative, greenfield development at Pickwick was refused by Wiltshire Council planners so they (Gladman) have, of course, appealed.
Gladman's 250-page (would you believe!) appeal statement may be found in the first file below; the Pickwick Association's representation on the matter can be found in the second file and yours truly's humble offering follows.
18th April 2018 - planning application 18/02373/VAR from Gladman is a cynical attempt to get around important planning conditions which require stringent tests to be made regarding the foundations of the proposed homes on the speculative, greenfield site at Pickwick. Gladman has had the best part of three years to perform these tests but has failed to do so. The Pickwick Association has produced a comprehensive representation (in the file below) to Wiltshire Council on this matter. Other representations may be found on the Wiltshire Council planning pages here: Wilts Council pages on 18/02373/VAR
16th April 2018 - the deadline for representations on Gladman/Redrow planning application 18/01410/FUL was 4th April 2018; unfortunately yours truly has been away since the end of March so missed the opportunity to put in my five-penniesworth. However, the Pickwick Association made a comprehensive representation (which may be found in the file below) which covered anything that I might have said. Other representations may be found on the Wiltshire Council planning pages here Wilts Council pages on 18/01410/FUL:
1st March 2018 - situation update from Beechfield Trustees regarding the Gladman/Redrow speculative development. The newsletter dated 21st February 2018, in the file below, outlines current issues, the main one being that of noise and vibration. The developer is required by Condition 22 to design foundations which ‘ensure that noise and vibration levels of the foundations are at or below the criteria specified in Condition 23’. Gladman is, apparently, taking the lead on this and they have yet to prove that this can be done. They have tried twice – and failed on both occasions. They are to start all over again when they conduct vibration testing on site - this is scheduled for 7th March 2018.
27th January 2018 - Redrow destroys another 80 metres of old dry stone wall despite not having fulfilled planning conditions regarding the active mine below the Bath Road greenfield site.
26th December 2017 - the current situation regarding the Gladman/Redrow development is summarised in the newspaper article below. Note that the article includes the text "opposite Bradford Road" which may be a tad confusing to some in view of the Redcliffe development currently taking place between Bradford Road and Park Lane. The subject development is, of course, north of the A4 opposite St Patrick's church.
7th September 2017 - reserved matters planning applications 16/03721/REM and 16/04544/REM 'Land north of Bath Road, Corsham' approved by Wiltshire Council's Northern Area Planning Committee on 6th September by a vote of 6 to 2 in both cases.
The presentations by Tony Clark, David Taylor, Ruth Hopkinson, Neville Farmer and Nigel Jackson against the applications were, as usual, ignored by the committee. But not only that, no record (except here, on rudloescene - see below) is made of verbal representations - they simply end up floating off into the ether. However, in this case, Tony Clark has requested that the representations be appended to the minutes of the meeting.
1st June 2017 - oh dear, this hoarding appears to have upset someone ...
... hardly surprising that someone has vented his/her spleen at the Tory hoarding in the Gladman/Redrow/Stafford field at Pickwick. As described in the ‘News’, ‘Pickwick’ article dated 13th February 2015, ‘Our local villain, the owner of the larger of the subject fields, (as a farmer) pays no local taxes, no VAT, no fuel duty and receives significant tax breaks and many hundreds of thousands of pounds in subsidies (details available on request) and just sits back and waits for his windfall (estimated at about £20 million) while local tax-paying communities, which have been sold down the river, agonise (and spend inordinate amounts of time and money) over the proposed desecration of greenfield sites. Wiltshire Council (but really the ratepayers) has spent the best part of £43,000 fighting Gladman's appeal and this figure does not include Council officers' time which also must amount to many thousands of pounds.’
Now the landowner exhorts (or perhaps boasts) that we plebs should follow his lead and vote for the very party that has enabled this state of affairs. What a nerve! And as with much of life and politics, the supposed housing shortage is founded on a lie. Can you dear readers think of other lies that permeate politics and are perpetuated through repetition (e.g. May, strong, leader ...)? The birthrate has not accelerated so much that we will need, according to government statistics, over 4.5 million new homes by 2033 (at an average of 2.3 people per home, that’s a population increase of 11 million). Take Corsham, Katherine Park’s 760 homes provided homes for more than 1,700 ‘new’ residents and the proposed 700 new homes in west Corsham will provide for a further 1,600 ‘new’ residents. That’s 3,300 people who will have taken root in this small market town since 2005/6!
We don’t have such population growth – these new residents will be outsiders using Corsham in order to commute elsewhere. Ask any London (East End) cabbie, well actually former East End cabbie – almost without exception, they all now live in Essex. This white flight caused by Johnny Foreigner (aaaargh, I’ve used the ‘f’ word) buying up swathes of London (and other) property, is the root cause of the supposed population explosion. Other countries don’t allow JF to buy property in bulk (and leave it empty), or in some cases any property at all. So why do our governments allow this to happen and continue to perpetuate the lie that ‘we’ need more housing? No matter how many more houses are built, JF will still be buying a significant proportion of them (for investment) and they will remain unaffordable for locals.
“We’re all bought, and what’s more we’re bought with our own money. Every one of those poor downtrodden bastards, sweating his guts out to pay twice the proper price for a brick doll’s house that’s called Belle Vue because there’s no view and the bell doesn’t ring – every one of those poor suckers would die on the field of battle to save his country from Bolshevism” (Coming Up For Air, George Orwell, 1939)
21st October 2016 - Pickwick Lodge Farm heralds in the advertising for its B&B: "Pickwick Lodge Farm is a 17th Century Cotswold's farmhouse, on 350 acres of pristine Wiltshire countryside". Well not any more it ain't, thanks to the Staffords of ... Pickwick Lodge Farm.
17th October 2016 - the dismantling, or destruction if you prefer, of the dry stone wall in the 'Pickwick development' fields commenced last week and continues today. For perhaps hundreds of years (the demarcation is shown in 19th-century maps) the wall provided a boundary between heraditament 260 (the small meadow belonging to Daw at the last count) and heraditament 261 (the large field belonging to Stafford). Now, thanks to government policy, unscrupulous developers and tyrannical landowners, 2016 sees the wall consigned to history, to be seen only in photographs and referenced in books and old maps. This is the legacy of the second decade of the 21st-century, a period that will, or should, live in infamy. See the sub-webpage on dry stone walls here: dry stone walls.
Just on the arterial roads west from Corsham, the A4 and the B3109, between Corsham (Pickwick) and Rudloe, outline planning permission has been granted for 508 homes (150 at Pickwick - Gladman/Redrow, c100 at Copenacre - Bellway, 170 at Bradford Road - Redcliffe, 88 at Bradford Road, Rudloe - Hannick). Not only that but a further 180 homes are proposed for the ex RAF Rudloe No 2 Site in Westwells Road (Framptons - this application is held up over ecology at present). A further 11 homes are under construction on the Rudloe Estate (Green Square) and, a little further afield, at Potley, planning permission has been granted for 64 homes (de Vernon). So, a total of 699 homes either already with permission or awaiting permission (Framptons) in the Pickwick-Rudloe corridor alone and if the Potley development is included, the total rises to 763. There are, also, other developments proposed in Corsham - the 55 homes at Brook Drive for example. Then, in Chippenham, we will see developments which will bring in the order of 3,500 homes. Ironically today, 17th October 2016, there was an article on BBC World Service about a family of Syrian refugees being accommodated in a Wiltshire market town (perhaps Chippenham?) in an "unneeded" flat. So the local population does not need one flat but does, apparently, need 4,500 new homes? Answers to this conundrum on a postcard please ...
What will define the limits of development? Last Thursday, leaving Chippenham at rush hour time, the traffic queue into Chippenham stretched from the Sainsbury's roundabout to Chequers Hill and the queue for the Cross Keys traffic lights extended to the top of Chequers Hill. Then the queue for the Cross Keys lights the other way extended all the way through Pickwick. The traffic experts say their models indicate that our roads can cope with the load of 4,500 new homes and many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of additional journeys! The real world contradicts these models even now never mind with such an additional load in the future.
8th September 2016 - proposed mural for Pickwick cottages adjacent to proposed, speculative development by Redrow. The managing director of the Lovell Stone Group said, in a representation on planning application 16/03721/REM: "We will be using large and noisy machinery 15 metres directly below the proposed houses. This includes hydraulic hammers for scaling the roof and cleaning the working face. Experience shows that noise and vibration will travel up through into the houses above".
5th August 2016 - Pickwick Lodge Farm which has "country views from each room" has, by the use of herbicide, produced the following views for its neighbours. This is the 22-acre field that has been sold off (one assumes) to Redrow Homes for development. Without a freely-available register of landownership, as with the French cadastre system, people are not aware of the ownership of local fields. The prolonged debate over this field has been going on for three years or more. Planning applications, hundreds of letters, a public enquiry, concerns over the environment including wildlife, light and traffic levels, concerns over the capacity of local infrastructure to cope with hundreds of new residents, thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money effectively wasted on the planning process. And the landowner? At £1million per acre and, in this case, with "country views from each room" he/she has made no input to the process except for the avaricious decision to sell the land. The subsidised and tax-exempt (in many respects) landowner leaves the local taxpaying public to agonise over their environment.
This is a rotten system. There should be a requirement for local community involvement at the outset before an agreement is made to sell substantial landholdings and before planning applications are presented 'out of the blue'. I believe that such a system was proposed by David Cameron at the start of the last government in 2010 however the very opposite has happened with virtually all development being prescribed. Locals have found that the inputs they do have through written representations and nine-minutesworth (three people x three minutes) of oration at a planning meeting are completely ignored. A rotten and seemingly corrupt system.
As with the issue of landownership, the use of herbicide on this field in late June or early July was unknown to the public. With adjacent houses (downwind of the field) and a right of way running through it, one would have thought that the landowner would have made the public aware of the intention to spray and the product to be used (see other articles on this website about glyphosate). Local people, many with their dogs, who regularly use the right of way have been distressed at the dreadful, depressing contrast between the field in its former state, full of wildlife including bees and butterflies, and the present, woeful scene.
Full planning permission has not yet been granted for these 24 acres. However, the 'presumptious' hoarding (shown below in the May 2016 article) and now this killing off of the flora illustrate the miserable nature of a planning system whereby a landowner/developer is able to make the presumption that planning permission will be granted (as it undoubtedly will) and is able to ride roughshod over the niceties of that planning system, the local environment and the sensibilities of local people.
I guess that Stafford's 21.5 acres adjacent to the A4 is small potatoes on a farm of 350 acres. According to Farmers Weekly, January 2015 edition, the link to which is given in the button below, farmland for development has hit £1 million/acre (yes, one-million pounds per acre!) in the south of England (maybe more now in May 2016). Hardly surprising then that local farmers and landowners are falling over themselves to sell the community down the river for thirty pieces of silver.
Stafford's 21.5 acres and Daw's 2.5 acres in adjacent fields in Pickwick, David Gibbons's 23 acres in the Bradford Road (he soon disassociated himself from the Civic Society when it came to society v shekels) and Robert Payne's (Colerne farmer with much landholding in west Corsham) 12 acres at Rudloe add up to a total of £59 million. No wonder that housing is unaffordable (supposedly made affordable though taxpayer-funded government schemes). But if Monsieur Stafford, in the form of a gift or through an enforced levy, provided a £50k deposit to each household in the development, this would add up to a measly £7.5 million - he would still have enough left over for an apartment in Monaco with compulsory yacht and a chateau in the Dordogne with a few £million in the bank for rainy days.
Mind you, there should be capital gains tax payable at 28% but the same Farmers Weekly article mentioned above states: "Proceeds from the sale of development land can be rolled over into qualifying assets like land, buildings and fixed plant and machinery". The poor farmers.
Note that, as mentioned in the photo caption, representations regarding 'reserved matters' must be made to Wiltshire Council planners by 9th June 2016. The planning application number is 16/03721/REM.
1st May 2016 - the beginning of the end for west Corsham farmland
Trial trenches have been dug in the fields, owned or formerly owned by messrs Stafford (farmer) and Daw (local optician), which are the subject of speculative development (150 homes) by the Gladman organisation. These perhaps will be the first of west Corsham's productive fields to be given over to tarmac and reconstituted block. The Hannick (88 homes) site owned or formerly owned by Robert Payne, farmer, of Colerne and the Redcliffe (170 homes) site owned or formerly owned by David Gibbons of Corsham (ironically, the former editor of the Corsham Civic Society magazine Spotlight), both in the Bradford Road, will surely follow.
6th June 2015 - James Gray's response to the 'open' letter regarding the Planning Inspector's Gladman decision can be found through the file 'link' below:
I wonder what constitutes planning 'law'? It seems it is what the Inspector decides it is! The 'open' letter included the following paragraph regarding the lawful (?) number of houses (330) alloted to Corsham through the lawful (?) Core Strategy process:
"Paragraphs 128, 129 and 131 of the Appeal Decision then go on to discuss this 330 figure. Para 128: “The appellants did not disagree that it seems likely that 330 will be exceeded, perhaps well before the end of the plan period”. Para 128: “The Council argued that, having participated in the CS process, the expectation of the community is that this (the requirement of 330) is what should happen”. Para 131 (paraphrased): “In allowing the appeal there would be some prejudice to a plan-led planning process within the Corsham community area”. Not half! What is the point in spending years producing a strategy, which included a wealth of consultation, when any or all planning applications are allowed to prejudice it?"
So the Planning Inspector confirms here that it is likely that the 330 figure will be exceeded; that the community expect that this lawful (?) figure be adhered to and that allowing the appeal would prejudice the lawful (?) plan-led planning process!
I would say then that "there ain't no justice" here particularly when the only option left for the community is, as James Gray says, a judicial review in the High Court which would be prohibitively expensive. Another example of 'one law for the rich etc'.
And my response to James Gray:
28th May 2015 - hardly believable news, the Gladman appeal is allowed
The Government Planning Inspector has allowed the appeal from Gladman Developments Ltd for 150 dwellings and a 1,400 sqm commercial block. The Inspector's report para. 1 reads:
The appeal is allowed and outline planning permission is granted for erection of up to 150 dwellings, up to 1,394 sqm B1 offices, access, parking, public open space with play facilities and landscaping at Land North of Bath Road, Corsham, Wiltshire SN13 0QL in accordance with the terms of the application, Ref 13/05188/OUT, dated 18 October 2013, and the plans submitted with it subject to the conditions set out in the attached schedule.
The full report can be found here:
After a cursory 5-minute browse through the Inspector's report, I found the following error. Paragraph 53 of the report states:
Finally, I note that since the Inquiry the Council has permitted housing development on two sites at or near Corsham, amounting to 152 dwellings. However, it would not be appropriate simply to add that figure to the supply – that would be tantamount to changing the base date of the HLS exercise. Moreover, some of these units are already accounted for in the HLS figures. The Council and the appellant have agreed that the correct base date for this appeal is 1 April 2014. If any later base date were used it would be necessary to review all the elements of the HLS exercise.
The figure of 152 is made up from the 88 homes approved at Rudloe (Hannick's 13/05724/OUT) and the 64 homes approved at Potley (de Vernon's 14/04179/OUT). Neither of these is "already accounted for in the HLS figures" - check the HLS here: http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/wcs-exam91-housing-land-supply-statement-2014-final.pdf
A Corsham lament (with apologies to Melanie)
Look what they've done to our town, Dave
Look what they've done to our town
Well, it’s the only thing you could do half right
But it's turned out all wrong, Dave
Look what they've done to our town
Look what they've done to our view, Dave
Look what they've done to our view
Yeah, they spoiled it on a whim
And they couldn’t give a damn, Dave
Look what they've done to our view
Wish I could find a good book, Dave
Wish I could find a good book
Cause, if I could find a real good book
I'd never have to come out, Dave
And look at what they've done to my town
But maybe I'll be alright, Dave
Yeah, maybe I'll be OK
Cause, if the people are buying tears
Then I'll be rich someday, Dave
Look what they've done to my town
Look what they've done to our hearts, Dave
Look what they've done to our hearts
Yeah, they ripped em out
And bedded them in concrete, Dave
Look what they've done to our town
13th February 2015 - the Gladman appeal hearing adjourned for English Nature determination
The appeal hearing was adjourned on 30th January 2015 and will re-convene in the near future when a response is received from English Nature with regard to plan changes affecting layout, orientation, lighting, vehicular movements etc and their effect, inter alia, on the bat population.
The recent Countryfile (BBC) article asking members of the public to write in about their "farming heroes" made me laugh - in this neck of the woods it would be far more appropriate to name "farming villains".
Our local villain, the owner of the larger of the subject fields, (as a farmer) pays no local taxes, no VAT, no fuel duty and receives significant tax breaks and many hundreds of thousands of pounds in subsidies (details available on request) and just sits back and waits for his windfall while local tax-paying communities, which have been sold down the river, agonise (and spend inordinate amounts of time and money) over the proposed desecration of greenfield sites. Wiltshire Council (but really the ratepayers) has spent the best part of £43,000 (I would estimate) fighting Gladman's appeal and this figure does not include Council officers' time which also must amount to many thousands of pounds. Check out the button below for a November 2013 Corsham & Box Matters article on 'The Tyranny of the Landowners'.
And for those with an interest in the housing land supply situation (HLSS), the 'link' below points to a 'proof of evidence' of the HLSS from Mark Henderson, senior planner at Wiltshire Council given in evidence at the Gladman Pickwick appeal hearing. Gird your loins, this document runs to 342 pages!
And here's the Wiltshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment (lots of stats and tables) dated December 2011 by RS Drummond-Hay. This is only a 227-page document:
19th December 2014 - Gladman development appeal starts on 20th January 2015
Wiltshire County Council has notified, through the letter below, that the Gladman development appeal will take place at the Council Offices, Monkton Park, Chippenham from 20th January to 30th January 2015.
15th September 2014 - planning application 13/05188/OUT
Gladman has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against Wiltshire planners refusal of this speculative planning application at Pickwick.The Planning Inspector has requested comments on this appeal by Friday, 19th September 2014.
There have been hundreds of objections to this application, all with valid reasons why this speculation should not be approved. My own objection was attached to the article dated 6th December 2013 and I have selected others ('link' below), by Mr French of Swan Road, Mr Alford of Pickwick and Mrs Burt of Academy Drive, to illustrate the studied objections to this speculation.
The Pickwick Association urges locals to make comments to the Planning Inspector by the date given above (this Friday!). The Association's principal objections are listed below. To make a comment to the Planning Inspector, enter case reference 2222641 at this webpage: http://www.pcs.planningportal.gov.uk/pcsportal/, then enter your details and comments. My objection is in the file 'link' below this article.
27th June 2014 - 13/05188/OUT refused
Way behind in reporting this refusal as I've been abroad for the best part of a month.
This application from Gladman was refused by Wiltshire Council on 28th May. Gladman's Strategic Land division proclaims "A formidable, skilled and highly professional land promoter, obsessed with winning consents".
Locals in the area of west Corsham are also obsessed with retaining pastureland and productive farmland not only to maintain strategic gaps and integrity of communities but to provide the food that we need. The obsession of this Government, landowners and planners appears to be to further reduce the already meager 60% of the nation's diet that our farmland provides. When the balloon again goes up, no doubt we will be urged once more to 'dig for victory'.
A front page article in The Times 27th June edition highlights the underlying causes of our supposed desperate housing requirement - "Immigration and increased birthrate to blame for the fastest population surge in EU". Our infrastructure and services are already amongst the poorest in Europe from health (lowest cancer and stroke survival rates for example) through care for the elderly ("Elderly care faces funding catastrophe" was a recent Times headline) to energy (our base energy supplies are being provided by beyond end-of-life power stations and our gas storage capacity is amongst the lowest in Europe). Yet through our flawed immigration policy (or lack of one) we continue to pile more and more pressure on infrastructure and services.
Thankfully, 'Pickwick' has managed to fight off the Gladman development, at least for the moment.
A 'link' to the Wiltshire Council Planning Department's refusal notice is below.
23rd February 2014 - planning app. 13/05188/OUT
The following email from Wiltshire Council Planning Dept has recently been received by all objectors to the original speculative planning application 13/05188/OUT - 'Land north of the A4 at Pickwick'.
Note that the revised documents can be commented on in their entirety - it is not necessary to attempt to find the changes that have been made (although I guess that this might be helpful from the objectors point of view):
You are receiving this email because you have previously submitted a representation in respect of the above planning application. The Council has since received additional and revised information from the applicant, such as to warrant a second round of public consultation. The relevant material can be found at: http://services.wiltshire.gov.uk/UniDoc/Document/Search/DSA,522657 under ‘Drawings – Revised’ and prefixed with ’07.02.2014...’.
Please note that further comments are invited up until 3 March 2014 and these should be focused on the additional material only. There is no need to reiterate earlier points made in respect of other matters or the application as a whole. Site notices will be updated accordingly.
Comments submitted by email should be sent to email@example.com and not to my personal email address, as it cannot be guaranteed that these will be recorded.
Planning Officer (North) | Wiltshire Council
Economic Development and Planning
Monkton Park, Chippenham SN15 1ER
Tel. 01249 706657 | Email. firstname.lastname@example.org
6th December 2013 - public consultation ended with 274 objections
Two-hundred-and-seventy-four objections have been registered to this outrageous, speculative proposal.
So much heartache and worry caused to the local community. And so much time and effort expended by local (Council) officials on strategies and plans and also by locals at meetings and in producing leaflets, writing objections and organising protests.
The landowners? What do they have to say in this debate? Absolutely nothing it seems; they just light the blue touch paper and watch the local community agonise over their decision to sell-off their land to speculators. Locals who, through their taxes, have helped subsidise the farmer to the tune of £520,000 (at today's exchange rate) between 2000 and 2009 (no later figures available). The farmer who enjoys tax breaks, pays no council tax, no VAT, no fuel duty and no inheritance tax is able to sell the local tax-paying community down the river.
Great system we have! See my objection below. Also see the 'News', 'Rudloe' page and my objection letter to the Wadswick solar park for further details of farmers' tax breaks.
20th November 2013 - Gladman planning application rejected by Corsham planners
At a meeting of Corsham Town Council Planning Committee on Wednesday 20th November 2013, Gladman's planning application for the development of land to the north pf the A4 at Pickwick was rejected unanimously.
Three Pickwick residents spoke against the application and the meeting was attended by scores of local residents.
1st November 2013 - Pickwick planning application 13/05188/OUT
The planning application for land opposite St Patrick's Church, Pickwick has been registered by the developer, Gladman, today. Further details are shown below.
Registered (validated) - Friday 1 November 2013
Consultation expiry - Thursday 5 December 2013
Target date for decision - Friday 31 January 2014
Site address - Land north of Bath Road Corsham SN13 0QL
Outline planning application for erection of up to 150 dwellings, up to 1,394sqm B1 offices, access, parking, public open space with play facilities and landscaping.
June/July/August/September - Speculative development at Pickwick
Gladman Developments of Congleton, Cheshire are proposing a development of 150 homes and a large commercial building on the field in Pickwick opposite St Patrick's Church.
Gladman are behind much speculative development around the country and, as mentioned elsewhere, are taking advantage of the Government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and loose local (Wilts CC in our case) strategies and plans.
The Gladman exhibition of the proposed development was held in a viewing gallery at Corsham Sports Centre on 27 June. Scores of local people attended, voicing their opinions; many signed a petition, started by the Pickwick Association (http://www.pickwickassociation.org.uk/index.html) against the development.
The title photo shows a view, with copper beech, of the site of the proposed development.
Gladman Developments (Tracey McCann), in an email dated 26th September 2013, stated: "The reports are being finalised and the planning application will hopefully submitted next month (October)". Certainly not "hopefully" as far as local residents are concerned.