Fractious town council meetings reject Salisbury Road housing plans and reverse policies on the council's residential properties - including rents
Full reports on these and other issues at Monday's Council meetings will be published here later.
Meetings of Marlborough Town Council's planning committee followed by a full council (November 2) saw the reversal of previously voted through policies for the management and rentals of its houses and flats and a vote opposing the revised plans for the Crown Estate housing development west of the Salisbury Road.
The meetings attracted a larger number of the concerned public than usual. They witnessed walk-outs, a very pointed question, implied criticism of a lack of integrity amongst councillors, some anger and plenty of confusion - especially over what agenda topics should be reserved for the private session without the presence of public and press.
The vote against the Salisbury Road plans came as a surprise to some councillors. Most of them strongly support the development. The decision was based solely on Wiltshire Council's and the Crown Estates' refusal to recognise the implications of the extra traffic from 175 homes and a hotel from what one councillor described as a 'huge cul de sac' with one exit onto the Salisbury Road.
The resolution objecting to the plans included mention of the long discussed 'relief road' joining the Salisbury Road to the Pewsey Road (A346 to A345) so allowing traffic going towards Marlborough along the A346 and wishing to go west along the A4 to avoid the town centre.
There was more rancour in the chamber over a successful move in full council to overturn the full council decision (September 7) to outsource the management of the homes the council owns to a commercial agent and to raise the rents - by as much as 40 per cent.
However, Councillors Stewart Dobson and Marian Hannaford-Dobson withdrew before the vote. He left citing one of the seven Nolan principles for public life - the one on integrity (see below) - and she left because 'the auditor may scrutinise this item'. Citing that Nolan principle caused offence to some councillors.
Part of the problem was that discussion of whether the motion to rescind the rented properties' policy should be heard in public morphed into a discussion of the issue itself.
Councillor Ross who had said he would leave the room when this agenda item was discussed, stated: "I should not be here. This is a farce." Several councillors agreed with him.
[Nolan Principle No. 2: Integrity - Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.]