CAMPAIGN TO SAVE THE AVON MARDEN VALLEY
STATEMENT BY Steve Perry, Chair of CAUSE to Wiltshire Cabinet on the 21st July 2021
(CAMPAIGN AGAINST URBAN SPRAWL TO THE EAST OF CHIPPENHAM)
The Avon and Marden Valley has been a lifeline to Chippenham residents during the Covid pandemic and the Cabinet and Council should now consider how to protect and enhance this amenity and reinvigorate County Farms to be an exemplar of local farming and food production. CAUSE would welcome assisting in this project with other interested groups.
However, many of the concerns which we have expressed in relation to the previous Avon and Marden Valley plans apply equally to the current proposals for a road and housing to the South of Chippenham.
CAUSE has analysed the responses to the Future Chippenham consultation, the results of which are outlined in the full statement below.
SAY NO TO 7,500 NEW HOUSES, A DEVELOPMENT THE SIZE OF CALNE
SAY NO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE BEAUTIFUL AVON & MARDEN VALLEY AND PICTURESQUE COUNTRYSIDE
SAY NO TO 10,000 MORE CARS ON OUR ALREADY HEAVILY CONGESTED ROADS
SAY NO TO THE DESTRUCTION OF TREES & COUNTRYSIDE, OUR BEST DEFENCE AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE.
SAY NO TO INCREASED FLOODING CAUSED BY THE BUILDING OF NEW ROADS AND HOUSES
YOU CAN HELP US STOP
THIS DAMAGING SCHEME
The Cause Wiltshire is a campaign set up by concerned residents of North Wiltshire, to stop the urban sprawl and destruction of our market town and beautiful countryside. We oppose the council's plans to build 7,500 new homes on land that is so vital in our fight against the global climate emergency.
The proposed new road is not the answer to Chippenham's traffic congestion, as claimed by the council. It is not a ring road but a distributor road that leads through the new development itself. 10,000 new cars will be added to Chippenham's roads from the new homes, exacerbating the problem, not alleviating it.
This scheme has been devised by Wiltshire Council to meet their housing targets and is being inflicted on the residents of Chippenham and its surrounding villages without public consultation.
Furthermore, in the wake of a global climate emergency, developments that are not sustainable should not be permitted. The development will create a huge carbon footprint and destroy valuable and unspoiled river landscapes, not to mention the loss of already threatened biodiversity.
With climate change becoming a major threat and flooding an increased risk, building on countryside will only result in increased flood risks to Chippenham and the surrounding villages.
The UK imports 48% of our food so to be covering prime farmland in houses and tarmac, is very shortsighted!
We must protect our countryside for the sake of future generations, to preserve it as a precious recreational amenity and to help in our fight against climate change. Help us to challenge Wiltshire Council and save the beautiful area in which we live.
THE STATE OF PLAY
It seems clear to us that this scheme has been devised by Wiltshire Council purely in the interests of meeting housing targets and is being imposed on the residents of Chippenham and its surrounding villages outside of democratic process and WITHOUT public consultation.
Our views are shared by the residents of Chippenham, who in a survey conducted for the Neighbourhood Plan in 2019 declared ‘over-development’ and ‘urban sprawl’ to be the number three issue in a long list of concerns.
This Housing Infrastructure Fund application and associated road and 7,500 houses in direct conflict with the existing Chippenham Site Allocations Plan (part of the Local Plan) and is an attempt to predetermine the outcome of the Local Plan Review, which had been working up proposals for much smaller expansion of the town.
Given the declared Global Climate Emergency, it is astonishing that the council would even consider building on land that is so vital to our future and that would undermine the battle against climate change. In fact, we believe that in the midst of a global Climate Emergency, unsustainable development of this kind should not be permitted.
The government has set a target in law of net zero emissions by 2050 and public concerns regarding climate change are rising quickly. The Heathrow airport runway expansion has been ruled as illegal by the court of appeal due to inadequate consideration of the government’s commitments to tackle the climate crisis.
This development is environmentally disatrous for North Wiltshire and we need to stop it.
"STOP THE ROAD"
CAUSE organised a “Stop the Road” protest in Chippenham on Saturday. The numbers were much greater than anticipated, and represented all parties and many organisations; that is encouraging because it means that more people are becoming aware of the danger to our town.
A special thanks to both the Rt. Hon. James Gray MP, who gave a rousing and very supportive speech, and to Cllr Ashley O’Neil, Wiltshire Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, for attending in support.