Town Councillors dismiss plans for Manton Drove Barn & The Parade - in no uncertain terms

Written by Tony Millett on .

Marlborough Town Council's planning committee (April 4) first considered the planning application by Skip-Rite Limited to turn a disused grain store - known as Manton Weir Barn - into a recycling depot or waster transfer station.

Since Marlborough.News reported on the opposition to this application, more people have added their objections - Wiltshire Council has now received 86 letters of objection.  In addition surrounding parishes council have condemned the scheme and its impact on traffic and dangers of using unsuitable roads like Manton Drove. (For more details of the application see the earlier report by

The committee heard objections from Clare Russell (representing the Manton Residents Association).   She made the point that the recycling plant would be within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

She was very cross that proper notice of the application had not been given:  "We did not see the display of a planning notice and were given one week to respond - that's not appropriate for local democracy."  Councillors agreed with her.  When a reporter visited the site two weeks ago, a large rubbish skip had been placed in front of the planning notice.

After a complaint by Councillor Dobson, the Wiltshire Council planning department did extend the consultation period and allowed Marlborough Town Council to consider the application.  Also speaking was Joy Penn of Preshute Parish Council.

Councillor Cook called the application: "Inappropriate for a million different reasons."  Councillor Fogg said it was 'pretty vague':  "It's an appalling application and deserves to be thrown out."

He praised the decision of Wiltshire Highways Development Control Officer, Hannah Jones, who opposes it on grounds of the impact the large waste vehicles would have on the roads and verges, and on the dangers posed by such traffic at either end of the Drove - especially the junction with the A345.

Councillor Fogg also wondered whether councillors could have confidence that such a small skip hire firm has 'the capacity to fulfil its obligations'.

Other councillors weighed in:  "This is totally bonkers...a completely ill-considered proposal" (Councillor Loosmore)...  "This application is an abomination" (Councillor Hannaford-Dobson)...  "It's a poor application" (Committee Chairman, Council Hall.)

The committee heard that two further Wiltshire Council departments - environment and landscape - had raised objections.  Councillors voted to send a 'strong objection' to Wiltshire Council - citing many of the points raised by Manton residents and a string of Wiltshire Council Policies that the recycling plant would contravene.

This application has been called in by the unitary councillor for the Manton area and will probably be considered and voted on by the Eastern Planning Committee in Devizes on April 20.

Councillors then turned to an application to develop 'flats and parking' at Cross Keys House in The Parade.  Councillors heard the objections of Stephen Danson who with his wife has recently bought a flat in an adjacent building - Marsh House.

Cross Keys House - architect's drawings [Click to enlarge]Cross Keys House - architect's drawings [Click to enlarge]He pointed out that this was a resubmission of a planning application the Town Council had objected to three years ago.  He said that the new submission took no notice at all of the changed environment of the area now that Marsh House had been turned into flats.  At first the application had been submitted with three year old photographs - which completely omitted to show the Marsh House development.

He cited privacy issues with the new flats being 25 metres from his Marsh House windows.  He said the constraints on the site had changed with the Marsh House development.  Rubbish bins would have to be put on The Parade's narrow pavement.  The access to the site was absurdly narrow and there would be an impact on parking for the adjacent business.

Councillor Rose described the application as an example of 'gross overdevelopment'.  It was also pointed out that the submitted design with its flat roofs was inappropriate for a conservation area.

Councillors voted to send a 'strong objection' to Wiltshire Council.  And Mr Danson invited councillors to come and see how his flat would be affected by this development.  Wiltshire Council planning officers are set to decide on this application by April 21.