Ernie Clark. Hilperton Division, Wiltshire Council.

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Saturday January 29, 2005 Hilperton Relief Road decision.

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WWDC planning committee made an unexpected decision on the road.
The committee decided that this highly contentious application should be deferred in order that proper consideration can be given to the alternative option of going east of the village. In addition, the effects of housing de-allocation, under the 2016 Structure Plan, will be looked at.

This decision has a knock-on effect as the planned extension of Paxcroft Mead is dependent on 'the secured provision' of traffic relief for the village; this must therefore now be on 'hold' which means that the extension of Leapgate is also held up.

Persimmon, of course, may not be willing to wait for the democratic process to take it's course, and may go to appeal for 'non-determination'. This is their right under planning rules and, if it results in a public inquiry, it might actually speed things along somewhat.

I was not allowed to attend the meeting (see web postings passim) but I am informed that the behaviour of at least two councillors was an absolute disgrace, with one of them seemingly not listening to any debate due to the fact that he had already made his mind up. (I was under the impression that all members of the planning committee had to have an 'open mind' when considering applications). Whilst every councillor is entitled to their own opinion, they should at least have the decency to allow a meeting to progress and not abuse other councillors.

It is not often that a council meeting is witnessed by hundreds of members of the public and, from what I have been told, this meeting was not a good advertisement for local democracy. Hopefully, those councillors who acted so shamefully will reflect on their conduct, and not stand for election in the future.