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.

rudloescene
rudloescene

Farmland at Pickwick, with copper beech, threatened by Gladman speculation

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.

Northern Area Planning Committee - Counc[...]
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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)

9th February 2017 - The Two Pigs and continuation of the 250-year history of the building as a public house are tragically lost on our watch as Wiltshire Council approve conversion to a private dwelling. And, as indicated in articles below, this has happened with barely a whimper from the local community, former customers, Corsham Town Council or Corsham Civic Society. See the Wiltshire Council approval, change of use and listed building consent documents in the links below the photo.

Wiltshire Council change of use consent.[...]
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More on the demise of the Two Pigs on Andrew Swift's website here: awashwithale in an article dated 15th February 2017

28th January 2017 - a representation to Wiltshire Council planners on planning applications 16/11609/FUL and 16/12193/LBC regarding The Two Pigs change of use from public house to single dwelling.

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13th January 2017 - the Two Pigs and its predecessor the Spread Eagle - the end after 250 years?

 

Whilst the 18th-century history of The Spread Eagle remains to be uncovered (here), we can look back at some aspects of its history starting in 1837 when the Wiltshire Independent announced: 'To be sold by auction ... Lot 2. A MESSUAGE or PUBLIC HOUSE called "The Spread Eagle" situate at PICKWICK, at the side of the Turnpike-road from London to Bath, with all necessary and convenient attached and detached Offices, in the occupation of Mr. Wm. Rawlings. This lot is most desirably situate for business, more particularly during the progress of the works of the Great Western Railway. The tenants are under notice to quit at Lady-day next'.

 

In spite of the notice to quit, the Rawlings family: William, his wife Sarah and perhaps their son Mark (from Kelly's Directory of 1848) then perhaps another son Alfred (from Kelly's of 1867) remained in occupation at least until the time of the census in 1871 (and probably much longer). By the time of the 1901 census, we find a James Martin, publican and quarryman, in occupation. He and his wife Mahalath were still there at the time of the 1911 census but by 1915 and through to 1935, Edward John Dyke was the innkeeper (from Kelly's of 1915, 1920, 1923 and 1935).

 

During the Rawlings tenancy, the pub came up for sale on a further two occasions, in 1845 and 1868. At this last sale, Alfred Rawlings declared (in a conveyance) that "I declare that I do hold or have become tenant to Thomas Henry Allen Poynder of a Messuage or Tenement, Garden and premises called 'The Spread Eagle' ... and keep and use the said House as a Public House or Beer House". The conveyance finishes with "Agreement for renting the Spread Eagle at Pickwick from Michaelmas 1868, rent £14".

 

From an indenture of 1889, we find that Thomas Poynder (Baron and Lord Islington) of Hartham Park had a vast land and property portfolio which included many pubs: the White Hart at Kington St Michael, the Roebuck at Easton, the Great Western, the Falcon at Wootton-under-Edge, the Chequers (between Chippenham and Corsham) and the Spread Eagle.

 

The Cross Keys was also in the Poynder portfolio as we find in a response to a telegram of January 1897 on the subject of the Poynder Estate, "Your telegram to hand. The Cross Keys Public House is included in the lease to Mr Stevens, there is no agreement with him for the Spread Eagle. I enclose the old agreement with Rawlings". So it looks like, Mr Stevens may have been the occupant/innkeeper at the Spread Eagle before the turn of the 20th century and between the Rawlings family and James Martin.

 

Thanks to Andrew Swift for the research.

 

What a catastrophe if the demise of the Spread Eagle/Two Pigs takes place on our watch. And yet, 'we' appear to be happy to let 250 years of history slip away with no sign of lament. Corsham Town Council planning committee, meeting on 11th January 2017, on the change of use of the Two Pigs from public house to a dwelling resolved that "no objection be raised". As I say in the 9th January 2017 article below, with 700 homes (and two-thousand people) approved between Pickwick and Rudloe, Corsham Town Council should be fighting to both retain existing services and look to providing further facilities for the coming conurbation. But what do we get? A pitiful "no objection".

9th January 2017 - The Two Pigs. A planning application was submitted on 23rd November 2016 by the owners of The Two Pigs for change of use from a public house to a private dwelling. The application and associated Design and Access Statement may be found at the two 'buttons' below.

 

Planning advice given by planning officer, Charmian Burkey, is stated on the application as "Location and proximity of similar facilities suggest change of use application will be successful". However, with the loss of other local pubs/bars (the Cross Keys whose future is in doubt; the Rudloe Arms which effectively no longer has a bar; Corsham Community Campus which no longer provides bar facilities and Rudloe Community Centre whose bar closed in September 2013) the demise of a local, very popular pub, in spite of the proximity of The Hare and Hounds, will be a great loss to the local community. Indeed, a major factor in the loss of bar facilities at Corsham Community Campus was that it was not appropriate for councils to provide bar facilities to the detriment of local pubs. However, here we have the worst of both worlds with community facilities lost and a local pub potentially lost.

 

But not only that! Seven-hundred new homes have been approved (150 at Pickwick - Redrow, 100 at Copenacre - Bellway, 170 at Bradford Road - Redcliffe, 99 at Rudloe - Hannick & Green Square and 180 at Hawthorn - Framptons) between Pickwick and Rudloe/Hawthorn. Seven-hundred homes will bring what, two-thousand 'new' residents? And what will these new residents want? Facilities, services, openings ... not closings! (And, by the way and just an aside, where the hell are these 2,000 people coming from? Wiltshire Council’s Planning Consultation response dated 12th November 2015 states: “We can advise of an immediate housing need of 74 households seeking affordable housing in Corsham and the surrounding community area." ... 700 new houses will bring, [at 30%], 210 affordable homes!).

 

But not only that! More and more people are being squeezed into less and less 'social space'. According to census statistics, the 2011 population of the Pickwick and Corsham Without and Box Hill wards was 10,786. With an additional two-thousand, close on 13,000 people (okay, this figure includes children) will be vying for space in the one remaining pub, the Hare & Hounds.

 

But not only that! Should we 'approve' (through inaction) the closure of a popular, local pub after 250 years? The Two Pigs and its predecessor, the Spread Eagle, have a long history stretching back to the 18th century. Its loss without a fight would be a 21st-century tragedy. On a recent episode of Radio 4's 'Thinking Allowed' on the subject of the relationship between literature and sociology, Dick Hobbs said: "There is no factory or workbench to go to, there is no corner pub to go to. Where do I go to find a centre of community? The pub, this cornerstone of working-class social interaction and fiction isn't there any more".

 

Planning applications 16/11609/FUL and 16/12193/LBC refer (I have no idea why two as they both contain the same documentation). Representations (objections!) must be made on the first by 31st January 2017 and on the second by 2nd February 2017.

After perhaps 250 years, the Two Pigs (formerly the Spread Eagle or the 'Spread') closed its doors, apparently for the last time, on 7th December 2016. Great shame as this was a fine pub with no muzak, machines or meals!

 

The 'planned' closure date was widely advertised as Christmas Eve so many patrons or locals (including yours truly) planned a last visit or two leading up to the big day! However, it seems that a bit of a rotten trick was played and closure came 'out of the blue'.

One can only hope that resurrection might come to pass in the not-too-distant future through an offer that the owner can't refuse (wishful thinking perhaps). The 'Pigs' is pictured above on New Year's Day 1999.

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.

 

The use of a pesticide or herbicide on a public right of way may endanger users of the route. The Health and Safety Executive advises that rights of way should not be oversprayed and that warning notices may be required to advise the public of the potential hazard, where such chemicals are used in the vicinity of a public right of way (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 section 3 / Highways Act 1980 section 161).

 

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.

Presumptious hoarding - full permission has not yet been granted for this development. Representations must be made by 9th June 2016.

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.

"Country views from each room" according to the website - soon to be "Set in the west Corsham conurbation"

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.

Refilling a trench in the meadow adjacent to the A4. This meadow provides a transition between west Corsham and the Cotswold AONB

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:

James Gray's response to 'open' letter ref Planning Inspector's Gladman decision
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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:

Response to James Gray (copy to Michelle Donelan)
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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:

Productive land and a landscape part of the fabric of Wiltshire life for generations lost to tyrannical landowners and unscrupulous speculators

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

 
If I can find an error after a 5-minute browse, presumably there are many more. The report should be challenged. In view of this, I have sent an 'open' letter (by email) to James Gray MP and Michelle Donelan MP regarding the national planning process but with specific regard to this flawed decision. The letter can be found in the following 'link':
'Open' letter to James Gray and Michelle[...]
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What I did not explicitly state in the letter above is that the figure for developments already approved but missing in the plans (the HLSS and Core Strategy) is 280 (128 brownfield and 152 greenfield at Rudloe and Potley). Looked at from this angle, this leaves only 50 dwellings to be found in the plan period to 2026.
 
The RAF Rudloe No 2 Site development, which is held up on ecology (bats) will, when approved (as it surely will be), take the approved dwellings to 460, far exceeding the 330 figure given in the Core Strategy and quoted in the Appeal Decision.
 
Regarding the agreed 'position' of both sides (Gladman and Wiltshire Council) at the Inquiry about the 'base date' for housing numbers, it seems that the planning process is far too concerned with planning devices than with the reality of peoples lives and the environment. Real lives and a community happy with its lot are far too important to rest on fastidious arguments about a contrived 'base date' for housing numbers. The de facto situation is that Corsham (indeed just west Corsham) will have exceeded, by some way, the given housing requirement in the coming years (never mind before 2026) without the speculative, Gladman proposal.

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

The Pickwick fields of messrs Stafford and Daw - the subject of a speculative planning application and appeal by Gladman

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!

Housing land supply situation - evidence to Gladman Inquiry
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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.

Pickwick farmland threatened by Gladman speculation

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.

 

  • There are enough houses planned for Corsham at this time. Local people should be allowed to select sites for new housing in line with the Localism agenda and not be forced to accept development where it is inappropriate and not wanted. The Council’s Core Strategy and the future Corsham Neighbourhood Plan are the appropriate vehicles to do this.
  • The proposed site is outside the Corsham settlement boundary defined in the local plan and the Core Strategy. Development outside of settlement boundaries should be resisted. The ex MOD land in Corsham is brownfield land and would be better utilised for housing development, rather than high quality greenfield farmland
  • The A4 through Corsham has capacity issues with significant levels of congestion at peak hours. There are poor public transport links along this stretch of the A4. People will drive rather than walk, cycle or use the bus
  • The proposed development will harm the distinctive landscape qualities of this area that falls within the setting of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This is an important green gateway to Corsham, preserving the landscape and visual setting of the town. The A4 is a defensible boundary between the town and open countryside
  • Pickwick is an historic village on the edge of Corsham. The proposed development would double the size of the village, harming the Conservation Area and Listed Buildings
  • The site is at the edge of the town, a long way from schools, shops and community facilities and is therefore less sustainable than other potential housing sites in the town.  Our schools, doctor’s surgery and other facilities are full, with no capacity to take on new residents
  • The site doesn’t relate well to the existing community of Corsham, it is isolated north of the A4 and new residents will face challenges to integrate into the local community
  • The application for 150 houses and 15,000sqft of offices is not large enough to generate contributions that will significantly improve local facilities as suggested by the developer
  • Corsham does not need more office space. The town has lots of vacant offices. The local plan suggests we need light industrial employment, which is best located with the other industrial areas
Mr French's objection to 13-05188-OUT (G[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [1.3 MB]
My objection to the Planning Inspector -[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [39.0 KB]
The Copenace site remains a derelict eyesore

14th August 2014 - Copenacre planning app. 14/07430/106

(see the 'News', 'Rudloe' page for more up-to-date information)

 

This planning application, from planning consultants Framptons, is seeking to modify the section 106 agreement by removing obstacles to housing development on this site in the current legal framework.

 

It seems that there is now no prospect of a nursing home here as local demand has been, or will be, met through developments elsewhere. Similarly, the proposed hotel development is looking uncertain.

 

At the Area Planning Meeting on 14th March when the Hannick speculative, greenfield application at Rudloe was approved, the meeting heard from members that bringing forward brownfield sites was fraught with difficulties. However, here we have consultants/developers desperately trying to bring forward the Copenacre site for housing but being hampered by the exacting requirements of (local) planning regulations.

 

In the opinion of rudloescene, Wiltshire planners should pull out all the stops to enable housing development on this brownfield site so as to avert the proposed speculative developments on farmland between Rudloe and Pickwick. Corsham Town Council and Area Planning Committee member, Cllr Whalley has argued vehemently for the greenfield, speculative, Hannick planning application at Rudloe and (just last night) for the solar park on farmland at Wadswick whilst Corsham Town Council proposes to annex these same Box Parish lands. Greenfield development and annexation in whose interest?

 

Ninety-three per cent of Rudloeites polled (in about 350 households), in February this year, were opposed to the Hannick speculation and the vast majority of local (Wadswick and Neston) residents oppose the solar park. So, whose interests does councillor Whalley purport to represent? Certainly not those of Rudloe, Hawthorn, Wadswick and Neston parishioners.

 

Wiltshire Council planners invite comments on this Copenacre application by 4th September.

Planning application 13/05188/OUT refused - 30 May 2014

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.

Wilts CC refusal of 13-05188-OUT.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [110.1 KB]
The threatened field opposite St Patrick's church

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):

 

 

Dear resident,

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 developmentmanagementnorth@wiltshire.gov.uk and not to my personal email address, as it cannot be guaranteed that these will be recorded.

 Yours sincerely,

Chris Marsh

 Planning Officer (North) | Wiltshire Council

Economic Development and Planning

Monkton Park, Chippenham SN15 1ER

Tel. 01249 706657 | Email. chris.marsh@wiltshire.gov.uk

Location of eastern junction to proposed estate

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.

 

The Gladman Development - Objection.docx
Microsoft Word document [27.2 KB]
Threatened field

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 

Proposed development:

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.

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