Rabley Wood offer of a country park is a white elephant fraught with problems
The Manton Estate/Sangster family have offered a “gift” of a 14 hectare area of land along the River Og valley to Marlborough Town Council as a sweetener to their pre-planning application to build 50 houses on the existing Rabley Wood View recreation ground.
It has been suggested that this “gift” of land would then be used to create a Country Park, which has been reported in the newspapers as being of huge benefit to the residents of Marlborough.
But we believe that it is in fact fraught with problems and will become a white elephant draining resources from the limited Marlborough Town Council budget.
The plan as shown in the pre-application statement provided by the Manton Estates consultants RCC Town Planning Consultancy shows access to this area by a single footpath from the Rabley Wood View area.
There is no provision for any sort of car parking for the Country Park and any such access would mean that visitors would have to park their cars on the already over congested roads around the Rabley Wood, Rogers Meadows and The Thorns areas.
The land being offered is the flood plain and water meadow alongside the River Og and is therefore very often waterlogged and is of very limited agricultural value. The character of this land means that it can, in no way, replace the existing recreational field which is well used by our local children for playing ball games, flying kites etc.
The environmental impact on an area where the River Og feeds into the River Kennet could be disastrous if not managed properly.
The costs involved to bring this land up to a standard acceptable for use as a Country Park with all the associated requirements for proper fencing, pathways, signage, environmental considerations and on-going maintenance will be considerable and even if a commutable sum is passed over to Marlborough Town Council with the land the likelihood of this being enough to cover all the costs for the future maintenance of such an area is very doubtful.
We strongly feel that the offer to hand over of this land is just a “smoke screen” being used to deflect attention from the planning proposal for 50 houses on our existing recreation ground.
This proposal was discussed during the Marlborough Town Council Planning Committee meeting on Monday, which was well attended by a group of local residents who raised all these concerns and we urge our Town Council to take all our opinions and comments under consideration when the “gift” of this land is being considered.
Mr and Mrs David Baker