Open Letter to Andrew Noblett,
Leader of Chippenham Town Council
February 8th, 2013
I am aware that you are continuing to propagate the myth that Chippenham Community Voice (CCV) is against any development in Chippenham per se, even though you know that isn't correct.
You stated this incorrect view at the Chippenham Vision Board Meeting on December 4th 2012, after the Chippenham 2020 LLP presentation. I personally responded then that your comments were unfounded and that CCV unanimously supported the redevelopment of the area around the station (as proposed by Chippenham 2020 LLP) and the town centre generally. I suggested that you read a copy of our manifesto which describes our position regarding development fully and which is available on our website at www.chippenhamcommunityvoice.co.uk.
What we do NOT support is Chippenham 2020 LLP's publicly stated need to pay for that development by building 2,500 - 3,500 house on valuable farmland in the only green rolling hillsides and river valleys left undeveloped in the town's landscape. Chippenham 2020 LLP have stated in presentations that their 'Station Square' development proposals are self-funding, that the anchor tenants once signed will provide the means for the development to take place, and yet at a Bremhill Parish Council meeting presentation they said - in reply to questions from the floor - that they could only carry out the development if they were allowed to build upwards of 2,500 houses to the east of Chippenham at New Leaze Farm.
I know that Councillor Lyn Andre has provided you with a PDF copy of that manifesto and yet you continue to espouse your view of CCV whilst knowing full well that it is both incorrect and misleading. Your comments appear to mirror those made by Chippenham 2020 LLP, and I wonder why that might be?
So for the record, let us be clear.
Chippenham Community Voice fully supports the outline plans made by Chippenham 2020 LLP for the redevelopment of the area around Chippenham railway station and those for the town centre in general, and we have voiced that support publicly and in various meetings including Chippenham Vision Board attended by our members.
We stand by the aims stated in our manifesto completely, which does NOT argue for zero growth and no development, but makes it clear that we expect any development to be on brown-field land first, and that housing development should be limited to the town population's needs and not driven by the aspirations of developers.
We believe that a more fitting environment for business development is at J17 on the M4, which developers already want and which is easily reachable by the community in Chippenham, is within the Chippenham Community Area and would still enable the laudable objective of attempting to make Chippenham a self-sustainable town while maintaining excellent motorway links with the rest of the country.
We are against the re-designation of our town as a 'principal settlement' instead of a market town. This fait accompli was made by the (then) North Wiltshire Council and accepted by the new Wiltshire Council without any consultation with the residents of Chippenham and indeed without acknowledging to them the dangers involved - such as becoming a clear target for a disproportionate amount of house building over and above that actually required within the town.
In the light of the above please have the graciousness to accept that you are wrong and apologise for misleading the good people of Chippenham.
On behalf of Chippenham Community Voice.