I am very disappointed by the recent report in Marlborough News Online about the Crown Estate’s project for Marlborough. The report is completely one-sided and takes no account of the serious environmental impact this proposal may have on the possible pollution of the drinking water supply for Marlborough. Savernake Parish Council does not give it a huge welcome. The proposed development includes land which the Environment Agency has marked in red on their map from ‘What’s in My Backyard.’ This red area is the Inner Protection Groundwater Zone around the Thames Water Pumping Station which supplies drinking water to the town of Marlborough.
Like Marlborough Town Council, Savernake Parish Council has been involved in the Crown Estate’s proposal for a number of years. Originally it was a smaller proposal for up to 100 houses in the field west of the A346 Salisbury Road on land adjacent to the roundabout for the Marlborough Business Park. At the first meeting with the Crown Estate the then Mayor of Marlborough, Peggy Dow requested that the site should include a hotel. This request has remained just as a possibility. On writing to the Crown Agents I have never been able to get confirmation – only that it might be a possibility.
Since these early days the proposed development site has spread into a further field. The proposal has grown from 100 to 220 dwellings taking the development alongside the water pumping station and beyond into the land which is about 20 metres above the water table directly supplying the local drinking water. The planners for the Crown Estate have requested from Wiltshire Council that the Environmental Impact Assessment which they have to prepare should not include aspects of the groundwater and bedrock of the site. Savernake Parish Council has objected to this and asked Wiltshire Council to require that the Environmental Impact Assessment should contain a thorough investigation of possible contamination of the water supply.
In addition to being one-sided your report is inaccurate – The Crown Estate does not belong to the Crown. The Crown Estate is governed by an Act of Parliament and the property and land it manages is owned by the Crown – it is not the private property of Her Majesty, the Queen.
I do hope that in future your paper will return to what it started out to be – which was a well written, unbiased factual report which kept local people informed and up to date with what was happening locally.
Chairman of Savernake Parish Council