Cricklade ducks out of area-wide neighbourhood planning project
CRICKLADE Town Council has rejected an area-wide pilot planning scheme that is struggling to get off the ground.
At last week’s Cricklade Town Council meeting, councillors voted to go it alone instead of working on a Neighbourhood Plan with Royal Wootton Basset and 10 further parishes.
By opting out of the Wiltshire Council-backed ‘front runner’ scheme to create one development plan for the disparate community area, the town council has forfeited a share of £20,000 in government funding.
But it has also turned down the chance to form a united front to combat fears that the communities will be swallowed up by Swindon's expansion.
CTC chairman Cllr David Tetlow said that the council had put its best efforts into creating a community plan over the past 12 months and it was clear the scheme was not working.
He said: "It has become increasingly evident how difficult it will be to arrive at this point given our differing needs and geography.
"This has to be matched against the progress being made in neighbouring Malmesbury and Sherston and others up and down the country where plans are centred on much smaller areas."
He said that the town was more aligned to parishes over the Gloucestershire border who were facing similar issues, with quarry developments and traffic, than to areas like Lyneham.
Wiltshire councillor for Cricklade, Peter Colmer, said he was extremely disappointed with the council’s decision.
He said it would make the town an easier target for developers and would have a detrimental impact on surrounding parishes.
"I firmly believe that as a community area, there is more strength in fighting unwarranted developments such as Ridgeway Farm and resisting coalescence with Swindon than working in isolation," Cllr Colmer said.
CTC has now established a working group of councillors and volunteers to develop its own Neighbourhood Plan, focusing on the needs of Cricklade residents and the locality.