No Surprises Living in Devizes: What’s the Emergency?


“Hello and welcome to another episode of 999: What’s Your Emergency?” (Cue soothing countryside harmony.) “Today we’re in Wiltshire, where local Bobbie, Hugh Janus cycles into the village to inquire about Mrs Bun’s lost tart.” The creaking of an old bicycle on cobblestone pauses.


“Good afternoon Mrs Bun, I understand you’ve had a tart go missing from your bakery?”


“Oh, thank goodness you’re here PC Janus!”


“Do you think it’s been stolen Mrs Bun?”


“Oh bless, not at all, one of the puppies pinched it. No, it’s just I have these lovely cupcakes left over from the village fete.”


PC Janus smiles at the baker, “Never mind Mrs Bun, officer Dweeb and I’ll guarantee they don’t go to waste.” The baker smiles gratefully.


“Well, that’s the end of this week’s show; next week police in less conservative areas of the country will be tackling drug dealers, thieves and burglars.” (Pan across a sunset scene of downs, with cows grazing and a hummingbird fluttering, to a squad car parked in a layby with two officers admiring the view, while enjoying tea and cupcakes.


There you go Wiltshire Councillors; sounds better doesn’t it? Realism has no place in a reality TV show anyway; drama has never been less enthralling.


Councillors wanting the episode of a police action reality show set in Wiltshire to be akin to an episode of Heartbeat, were shocked to see edited results, and complained it’d have a detrimental effect on investment in the county.


In the same week I drove to Trow-Vegas for a new pair of work boots. Simple job, you park free, pick up a cheap pair of boots, and leave as fast as you came. You can’t do this in Devizes, shoe shops thinner than the soles of 70’s market-bought plimsoll, but I’d rather it not be a parade of hackneyed, chain-store trite, for our peace of mind and abject infrastructure.


The need to park without fee in the county town vital to its consumer attraction, I’m certain the Council will retain the idea. But parking free in Devizes, for tourism, those who need a few items without the hassle of large towns, and others who merely like to browse or saunter our town, will be a thing of the past.



Face it, Trowbridge has no aesthetic value, it’s pure functional I’m afraid, which is sad but why I’m in and out of Dodge faster than you could say “shall we pop in Wilkos?”


Some, it seems, crave for something other than a pleasant tranquil Devizes, arguing on social media we need a McDonalds, and we need a Matalan and a Tesco the size of Wales too. They overlook a larger shopping centre needs a larger town to fund it, which brings larger social issues.


You could drive to Trow-Vegas, Chips-n-ham; spoiled for choice. But we can’t have our cake and eat it; you really want Devizes to be another Trowbridge? I rest my case.


You’d sacrifice the pleasantness of wandering relatively safely through our dwelling, our serene backdrop, and friendly tenet, for the chance to grab a discounted pair of shoes and stop for a Chicken McSandwich? Go on, get off with yer; Trowbridge bus leaves in ten.


Anyway, attracting chain stores to Devizes is about to get trickier, as while the county-town’s rarity of free car parking lingers, our suspicions a fortnight ago, that Wiltshire Council will focus parking tariffs on our Market Place came true. Kaboom, it’s now going to cost a quid per hour, £1:70 for two; more expensive than other similar towns. Who rattled their cage?


It’s a forbidding tax we’ve no choice but to accept, doubtlessly not reducing traffic as people’s needs remain the same; suck it up. Using an environmental excuse, as they did, was a smokescreen. As a town we’ve thrown our political opinions aside and upon a post on the Devizes Debate Facebook page, are in agreeance, it’s farcical, and as Andy Fawthrop summed it, “totally bonkers.”


To rub salt in the wound, the post by Our Wiltshire headlined: “Have your say…” when as we explained in a previous week, the whole consultation was veiled unless you enquired, even then I couldn’t locate the online file I was directed to. Akin to this obscurity, it was absent of a section in which to indeed, “have your say.” The questions, as Rosalind pointed out, were skewered. Even Iain Wallis and I were united in its injustice; I love it when we agree Iain, got my blue tie out and everything mate!


He rightfully pointed out its prohibited to fund other failing services with revenues from parking, and that it will have an effect on local business; of course it will, until such a time we cave under pressure and allow our town to explode with sprawling repetitive housing estates, tawdry commercial hypermarkets, gigantic billboards advertising the latest Nike trainers and, of course, overpriced parking meters.


The Council won’t be able to brush anything under the carpet when the cameras switch on then; hell in a town. Yep, this is the same council who were worried a flimsy TV show, of the variety no one really recollects its setting seconds after it’s over anyway, might have an damaging effect on local business; hypocrisy. Now I’m no economist, but I’d reckon racking up parking fees would be worse.


You ever think while you remain sane, the rest of the world has flipped? A world where it was suggested Dr Suess books were racist when given out in schools in US by Melania Trump, wife of the most bigoted man in the free world.


A world where we believe a tabloid that dogging is depicted in a children’s book, when they simply omitted pages to make it look like it. Where judges spared a criminal from a jail sentence, who unprovoked, stabbed her boyfriend, simply because she has a pretty face and good career opportunities.


Oh whatever Wiltshire Council, charge us a quid to stop in our own town; justice a farce anyway.

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