Word on the grapevine is both controversial housing developments, one west of Hillworth Road, and the other off Coate Road in Devizes have been refused permission, Hillworth from five votes to three with one abstention at this morning’s Wiltshire Council Strategic Planning Committee meeting.….
The Hillworth site proposed the odd number of fifty-nine new houses, allowing only for the limit of 30% of affordable homes, meaning 18 of the 59, 11 affordable renting, and 7 shared ownership. But the plans faced criticism from both residents and Devizes Guardians, with residents protesting against it on October 30th.
The second far more ambitious proposal, a maximum of two-hundred houses, with again limited affordable housing, 36 rented, and 24 shared ownership, over near Coate was rejected soon after the Hillworth announcement, even with persuasive technique promising shops, because, you know, we haven’t got enough retail space in Devizes awaiting someone to occupy them.
Organiser of the Hillworth protest, Steve Cole told the Gazette, “this development is purely speculative, and its only aim is to make money from one of the town’s most valuable wildlife habitats. We don’t need speculation; we need preservation and protection to ensure our community and the wildlife can continue to enjoy this area for years to come.”
Yet this quote from the same article really takes the biscuit for a walk to cloud biscuitland, and dunks it in the tea of fibs lake. The developers added “the existing highway network would satisfactorily accommodate the additional traffic arising from the proposed development without resulting in any severe impacts.” Earth to planet developer, who blatantly has never attempted to turn out of Hillworth Road, much less drive anywhere in Devizes during peak hours! Must’ve graduated from the Boris Johnson school of honesty.
Such wildly inaccurate assessments against a market town already in dying need of improvement to infrastructure makes me suspicious of the whole shebang, don’t know about you? Yeah, new homes need to be built, but around towns with bypasses like Calne, not towns without the capacity for a bypass, like Devizes. Take the already bustling tight rat traps at your own peril. And besides, is anyone in a position to be buying a home right now, anyway? Putting their’s on the market and gathering some cardboard boxes more like. We need a much higher percentage of affordable rented homes, not just the minimum to satisfy the regulatory.
Devizes Guardians have been against both proposals, town Councillor Jonathan Hunter told me he believes “the current infrastructure in Devizes, including services like dentistry, GP surgeries, schools and local transportation provision is not adequate for an ever increasing population. Our current road infrastructure is certainly not able to cope”
Apologies if this newsflash is hardly breaking, and you’ve read opinions about it already plastered over your favoured local Facebook groups, but trekking back from Swindon earlier, I hit Devizes bang-on 5pm; shock-horror, I’m wagering you’ll never guess what happened next?!
A 35 minute journey magically tranforms into an hour and a quater, fighting the town congestion like Immortan Joe, proving Jonathan’s point I think; could’ve got the better half to jump out at the Market Place for a takeaway, and it’d be cooked, served and eaten by the time I pass the Brewery roundabout!
While I’m rapping on a curry tangent, always thinking about my tucker, Jonathan sees the wider issue, and continues, “this is not a nimby issue, society needs more homes and especially ones that families, single parents, single people or low income families can afford and enjoy. There should be much better provision of low cost quality rental properties too.”
“However new developments need to be well thought out and located where the infrastructure can more than just cope meaning the local road network isn’t gridlocked as a result of mismatched locations or people aren’t waiting weeks to see a GP.”
“From planning experts to local residents – they have all listed the many factors that make these two developments a very poor fit for Devizes and believe that these developments are not suitable.”
Good news all round today, then, common sense prevails in the end, prospective moneybags hold off until the next unjustifiable housing proposal rears its head, me? I got a Chinese takeaway in the end! Yeah, was nice, thanks for asking.