UPDATED March 8th, 2016
Consultation will close very soon on plans to build on Rawlings Farm and 'Chippenham Riverside' (east of the river)!
Please URGENTLY go to the "Respond - How?" tab above to respond to the developer's applications; the consultation closes formally on Friday March 4th 2016 BUT we understand that any submissions made in the week after that will be accepted.
Flooding adds weight to argument against development in northeast Chippenham
A good article in the Gazette & Herald this week (January 7th edition) relating recent flooding with the Chippenham Site Allocations Plan click HERE to read it.
The Inspector has responded to Wiltshire Council on December 9th
The Inspector has written to Wiltshire Council in reply to their response below. Mr Whitehead's letter can be downloaded HERE or by clicking on the icon to the right.
Wiltshire Council responds
Wiltshire Council responded on November 4th to the letter (see Chippenham Site Allocations Plan section below) from Patrick Whitehead (the Inspector) in which he confirmed his reasons for suspending the EiP, and to a further letter Mr Whitehead sent on November 30th giving further explanation to the Council.
Mr Whitehead's letter can be downloaded HERE or by clicking on the icon to the right.
Wiltshire Council has published their response to the Inspector in 3 documents; their letter can be found HERE or by clicking the icon to the right, and the two schedules can be downloaded by clicking HERE for Appendix 1 and HERE for Appendix 2.
'Witless farrago' - 'Unfit for purpose' - 'Completely failed to listen to the views of the people affected' - 'How much of our money has been spent?' - 'We are being ripped off' !
Collapse of Wiltshire Council's Site Allocation Plan for Chippenham - AGAIN!
On November 11th the independent Inspector brought the public hearing to a halt after only a day and a half of the planned nine day hearing, saying the Council's plans and evidence were simply not sound. Mr Whitehead, the Inspector, suspended the hearing after lunch on the second day, and gave Wiltshire Council 6 months to come up with something better!
The Inspector has today published his reasons for suspending the Examination in a letter to Wiltshire Council, and that can be found HERE or by clicking the icon to the right.
CAUSE took a lead part in the hearing, and we retained the services of a professional traffic consultant whose evidence made a big impact. The Inspector agreed with us that concerns over the delivery of the two bridges required for the proposed Eastern Link Road (crossing the main line railway and the River Avon), among other things, suggested that the Plan is unsound.
How much has all this cost Wiltshire taxpayers? Staff time, Council consultants' fees, the cost of the public hearing?
Who is responsible for this mess?
Chippenham Site Allocations Plan (CSAP) - Independent Examination
INITIAL APPRAISAL from Patrick Whitehead (Inspector)
On September 14th, Patrick Whitehead, HM Planning Inspector appointed to carry out the Examination in Public of the Chippenham Site Allocations Plan, released his Initial Appraisal of the CSAP, and it makes very interesting reading. It highlights a number of areas where the Inspector believes that the CSAP is NOT COMPLIANT with Wiltshire Council's own adopted Core Strategy, and many of those areas are ones which were highlighted in the CAUSE 2015 responses to the Public Consultation (among many others), and which the Council chose to ignore completely.
The full report can be downloaded HERE or by clicking on the icon to the right. We have highlighted the areas where the Inspector has expressed concerns, and they represent a large proportion of the appraisal.
Wiltshire Council has today published their response to the Inspector and that can be found HERE or by clicking the icon to the right.
Wiltshire Council-hosted meetings at Chippenham Town Hall on September 3rd 2015
At the Wiltshire Cabinet meeting in Chippenham on July 9th, the Council Leader Jane Scott OBE promised the public two meetings with full public participation, one regarding the Transport Policy for Chippenham and the other regarding Flooding in Area C, east of the river Avon and Monkton Park on what is currently two farms.
What the public actually got was an introduction by Alistair Cunningham for both meetings who told us that the Examination in Public process has now begun and that basically anything the public now had to say should be addressed to HM Planning Inspector!
The lead planning officer for Chippenham, Carolyn Gibson, who answered most of the difficult questions on behalf of the Council, sat with a group of developers for the whole evening – the same group who were over-represented at the Council held Developer consultation meeting at the Civic Centre when four of them who were actually either members of or consultants to Chippenham 2020, each registered as different companies to ensure that over-representation. Why did she do that?
We still haven't been told why the Council (who employed Counsel to OPPOSE development in Area C) had changed their minds so radically last November and decided to promote that. At the EiP for the Core Strategy, they told local residents it (Area C) was ‘protected, because of its landscape value, from development’. Because these two meetings only addressed ‘flooding and transport’ this complete reversal was not be debated.
We were told that the bund at Riverside Drive was much higher than required to ensure that it will NEVER allow flooding – which doesn’t explain why people living in that area either pay extortionate fees for insurance or can’t actually buy insurance for their homes.
In the Flooding meeting, the presentation was the most amateur I have ever seen; the presenters were confusing, ill-prepared, bumbling, and skirted all the important issues, just telling us it would "all be looked at again when/if planning applications were made, so we didn’t need to worry" ! When asked whether the Council looked at the long term cumulative impacts of the planning process we were told “no”! In fact at one point during the evening Mr Creedy from Wiltshire Council told us that “We get told off for any attempt at carrying out long term planning”!
In the Traffic meeting we were told that no real traffic data had been collected for 7 years, and the models we were shown showed various scenarios where traffic could be seen flowing out of town in the morning peaks - but no models were shown showing the congestion in the evening when that traffic returned! The models were presented as if traffic only ever LEAVES Chippenham! The argument that an eastern link road would be better for Chippenham than the one proposed to the south was never answered apart from an Atkins representative telling us that the east was measurably better without providing any evidence of substance.
The Chair grew visibly angry and refused to allow questions to be answered regarding the uncomfortably close working relationship between the Council and their Traffic Consultants. Apparently we were impertinent to ask any questions about that.
The two meetings in summary were a complete farce and just another public consultation box-ticking exercise for the Council. We were told (again) what the Council wanted us to hear, presented with no firm evidence as to WHY Area C was chosen and other much more suitable areas ignored, and in fact most of the ‘evidence’ was what we already knew from published documents.
Patrick Kinnersly, of the White Horse Alliance group
"Then onto my screen slid the work of a master – the weekly newsletter of James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire. His epistle to constituents for 5 September managed to weave a sentimental tapestry out of some apparently unconnected strands – the peerage for Jane Scott, leader of WC; the funeral of a redoubtable veteran of El Alamein and D-Day; the ‘refugee tide’ streaming north from lands ruined by war, poverty and climate change. The rest of the article can be found HERE.
Cause2015's response to the Chippenham Site Allocation Development Plan Document
The Public Consultation is now CLOSED! You can read the CAUSE2015 responses to the Chippenham SAP in the following documents by clicking the document icons below:
For the statement about why we believe the process and methodology used by Wiltshire Council in drawing up the DPD is unsound click HERE:
For the statement about why we believe the selection of Areas B and C by Wiltshire Council in the DPD is unsound click HERE:
Timetable for the Examination in Public of the Chippenham Site Allocation Development Plan Document (DPD)
|November 28th||Extraordinary Full Council Meeting
||Council Chamber - County Hall, Trowbridge BA14 8JN||Hopefully questions will be taken from the public concerning the debacle of the twice-failed Chippenham Site Allocation Plan.|
||Wiltshire Cabinet Meeting
||Kennet Room - County Hall, Trowbridge BA14 8JN|
Timetable updated on November 16th, 2015