Monday 13 August 1990

The Developers Will Get Their Way


Danny Howell, in his capacity as Press Secretary for the Warminster Civic Trust has written the following article, which has been submitted to the local press for publication this week (weekending Saturday 18 August 1990):

By taking part in a national audit of the environment, ‘hard facts about what is happening to Warminster’ have been aired by the town’s Civic Trust.

The Trust Chairman, Councillor Chris March, said: "The Trust is committed to promote high standards of planning and architecture, but within the current planning regulations, this ideal is practically impossible. The result is shoddy, characterless, out of keeping estates going up on every available piece of grassland."

Mr. March continued: "Developers are already poised, just waiting to build along the route of the recently opened bypass. Farmers and landowners will find it hard to resist the offer of astronomical sums when they are made."

"The county structure and local plans at present do not allow for further large developments, but we are told by the district council planning department that they cannot withhold permission indefinitely."

"The developers who have got time on their side, will eventually get their way."

Mr. March was commenting on Warminster Civic Trust’s part in the audit of the UK environment.

He said: "We were delighted to take part in the audit because it will highlight environmental issues concerning everyone in Warminster, ranging from planning and architecture to traffic and transport."

Mr. March added: "We saw this as a chance to air some of Warminster’s problems at a national level, and we didn’t pull any punches with what we had to say. Hopefully, our grass roots opinions, with others gathered by the audit, will help to shape future policies nationally, which in turn will be realised on a local basis."

The questionnaire submitted from Warminster noted that although the town has been described as unattractive, it does have a pleasant mix of style of buildings, but new properties are out of keeping with the traditional scene.

Warminster’s litter problem was described as ‘bad’, the problem being that people don’t use the bins, and the fine for dropping litter is no real deterrent. More litter wardens are needed.

Fouling by dogs, on footpaths and verges, was another problem, and ‘no go’ areas, says the Trust, should be designated.

The majority of Warminster residents appear happy with their household rubbish collection, but the Trust has noted that when rubbish is dumped in wrong places it attracts more to the same site.

Warminster has an adequate public tip, and although the town also has a bottle bank and containers for waste paper collection, it has no such facility for can recycling.

Holes in the road were a noticeable problem in Warminster. A new bill could be put through Parliament to ensure liaison between those who dig up the roads, plus prompt reinstatement of any road works.

The number of occupied shops in the town centre has decreased, says the Trust. Accommodation above some shops is underused, which has led to the buildings looking scruffy. The overall variety of shops, in the last five years, has decreased and the loss of department stores is regretted.

More pedestrianisation is called for.

Warminster Civic Trust, in an effort to continue tackling planning and environmental matters affecting the town, has now revamped itself by setting up four working parties.

The Planning working party will examine anything concerning the town structure plan. It will be chaired by Helen Rowley.

The Environment working party will focus on matters including litter and graffiti, and will be chaired by Elisabeth Collyns.

The Amenities group aims to help promote all forms of leisure facilities from sports grounds to footpaths and rambling. It will be chaired by John Peddie.

The Public Relations working party will handle the Trust’s publicity, advertising and promotional events. It will be chaired by Danny Howell.