Kevin Fisher from Shaw is willing to go into the public bear pit to speak against Taylor Wimpey’s proposal to build 700 homes at the planning enquiry in Chippenham which starts on 9 May. But he is seeking community endorsement for his position.
Kevin has the support of Shaw Residents’ Association, of which he is a member, but he’s appealing to people across West Swindon and further afield to get behind him.
A feature of planning enquiries is the grilling given to people speaking for or against development proposals by clever and highly paid barristers representing their clients. It can be an intimidating experience for most ordinary people, particularly when the legal eagle demands to know if a speaker has the right to represent a point of view.
Kevin said: “I’m ready to speak against development at Ridgeway Farm but I really need hundreds of supportive e-mails. When questioned I want to be able to clearly state that what I am saying has the broad support of a mass of people.”
Taylor Wimpey say their proposals are sustainable and will enhance Swindon’s housing stock, even though Ridgeway Farm is in Wiltshire and there has been widespread objection to their plan.
Kevin believes the development is a test case for the Coalition Government’s Localism Act. He said: “Approval of Ridgeway Farm would be un-democratic. All locally elected representatives in both Swindon and Wiltshire have publicly voiced their opposition to the proposal and over 1,000 residents in both Swindon and adjacent Wiltshire towns have written to object.
“There will be vastly increased traffic throughout West Swindon, greater pressure on infrastructure like water supply and sewage treatment, and the increased risk of the River Ray flooding.
“Apart from that the Wiltshire planning core strategy places much emphasis on preventing Wiltshire towns and Swindon joining together, whilst the Swindon core strategy makes it clear that development within the borough’s boundary will provide for the town’s future housing requirement.
“Approval of Ridgeway Farm would tell the whole country that local authority planning strategies paid for by council tax payers can be overridden and local democracy is irrelevant when it comes to housing development.
“The Localism Act gives the community a much greater say in planning decisions. This will test whether it’s worth the paper it’s written on.”
To give support to Kevin at the planning enquiry, drop him a note with your name and address to: