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Town Clerk’s Musing

Last night a number of key stakeholders came together to discuss the Crammer and its future, in what was a very positive meeting.  What was clear from the meeting is that people value the area for many reasons, be it heritage, its wildlife or its amenity value.  As you would expect, there were discussions around the water and its quality, but there was also considerable debate on how it is currently used, the wildlife that inhabits the area, how the local environment impacts it and finally some of the changes that have taken place during its history.  A considerable amount of discussion was around the future of the Crammer and how it may need to adapt to cope with longer dryer summers.  There is still a lot that needs to be discussed and agreed before a final report can be submitted to the council for adoption but all involved in the project agreed that it is important that it is open and transparent as it moves forward.

At next week’s planning meeting, the committee will be asked to comment on plans for a new affordable housing development at the top of Cane Hill. The development will be 33 affordable homes, open space provision including biodiversity enhancements, new access off A361 Caen Hill and pedestrian improvements, internal road layout and associated parking, new pedestrian and cycle connection to Avon Road and drainage including the provision of rain gardens. Wiltshire Council has committed to building 1000 affordable homes across the county and this project is part of that target. For more information follow the link here.

Next week a presentation will be made to the Town Council by Wessex Water about a planned major investment of more than £1 million in water supply services in Devizes over the next two years, which should ensure improved quality and a more reliable supply for future years.  The proposed work will involve replacing ageing cast-iron mains with new plastic pipes throughout a number of locations in the town and will be split into four phases, the first of which is due to get underway in August. Further phases will follow throughout 2024 with the entire scheme to be completed by the spring of 2025.

You may have heard that the Planning Inspectorate has now ruled in favour of the developer in their appeal against Wiltshire Council’s decision to refuse planning consent for up to 200 dwellings, a local centre comprising of commercial businesses and service uses, drinking establishment and hot food takeaway on land off Coate Road.  It’s a major blow to the community as the neighbourhood plan is in the process of identifying more suitable sites for development, which will ensure the town can meet its housing allocation, but in a way limits its impact on local infrastructure.  Many organisations in the town including the Town Council, The Trust for Devizes and CPRE made representation at the appeal hearing, but finally, it came down to the lack of a 5-year housing supply, which the Government requires planning authorities to maintain, otherwise, it gives developers the ability to argue that they can help make up that shortfall, even if it is where houses are not needed.

On a brighter note, this week we took delivery of thousands of plants from our supplier Bournemouth City Council, which look fantastic. Now we have passed the end of May and the chance of frost has diminished, our open spaces team have started to plant up the town centre flower beds and over the next week, they will be putting out the hanging baskets, which will make it feel like summer has arrived!

Town Clerk, Simon Fisher