Who is policing the planning consents for developments in Marlborough?
There were allegations made at the Marlborough Town Council's planning committee meeting (April 9) under the chairmanship of Alexander Kirk Wilson, that not all is well on the Redrow development - Marleberg Grange.
It was said that the work on the site by Redrow's contractors was being 'disruptive and destructive' - and a 'lot of people are upset'. It is alleged that workers are cutting down tress that were marked on plans for retention - and even a report they had levelled a copse that was not on Redrow land.
According to the planning permission, work on wildlife habitats had to stop at the end of March to allow birds to nest. Marlborough.news understands an investigation into these allegations is underway.
These allegations arose when councillors were considering the planning application for the Premier Inn hotel on the site and another change to the number and types of homes in the main development.
Councillor Nick Fogg thought a Premier Inn fitted the site ideally: "I think we should give a huge welcome to this development." The committee had no objections.
The Redrow re-application concerned changes which "...are the result of land becoming available adjacent to the hotel site". This meant a small change in the mix of the type of houses and an increase in the total number of homes to 171 - now five short of the number in the original outline permission.
Councillor Bryan Castle urged 'some caution' and wanted some provisos inserted: "We were promised a lot in enticements, but there's a roughshod attitude over sensitive ecological points. It would not hurt to draw attention to our despair at the blatant disregard."
The Committee approved Redrow's changes but asked Wiltshire Council to "...ensure that the breaches of [planning consent] conditions are followed through."
No member of the committee asked where this extra land 'adjacent to the hotel' had come from. Let us hope it is not land once set aside for trucks and vans to park while their drivers overnight at the Premier Inn. If it is, we can expect to see HGVs lining up along the neighbouring residential roads and in the business park.
The Committee also 'welcomed' and passed planning applications, which include a Listed Building Consent, for Nos. 7 & 8 Kingsbury Street - behind Godots and the neighbouring house. This involves development of the ancient and largely hidden barn - of which it was said "...very little signs of Medieval work is left."
This development will bring another major restaurant to Marlborough and increase the number of guest rooms in the two houses to ten. Councillor Fogg called this 'a very prestigious project'. Councillors must be aware of the worries neighbours in Kingsbury Street have about the total absence of parking for the restaurant and that their homes will be blighted by parked cars. No mention of this was made.
The third contentious application was for a 'three car garage' over the parking spaces near the Old Sales Room development of flats and shops in the middle of Hilliers Yard/Polly Gardens car parks.
Objectors from Cromwell Court pointed out that this garage would block the Fire Brigades secondary access to Cromwell Court - necessary in case the main entrance was blocked by fire. The garage would also block a storm drain that coped with rainwater that in downpours ran down the Castle and Ball car park, across the High Street and into Cromwell Court - risking flooding to homes there.
There were also doubts that the garages were large enough for three cars. It was alleged that they would probably be used for storage - leaving three more cars looking for parking on the streets. Councillors decided to object on all these grounds and in addition said that the submitted plans were inadequate.
It would be reassuring for residents of the town if Wiltshire Council explained publicly how they police planning consents and what action they can and do take against violations. At the moment it seems that Wiltshire Council are too busy totting up the proceeds from land sales and from new homes to worry much about what is happening to the town.