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Residents say “playing field will be lost” following planning application

RESIDENTS in Berryfield are concerned after a planning application was submitted to turn what they describe as a, “well-used playing field” into houses and flats. 

Twelve months ago families living on Berryfield Park contacted the Melksham News after Selwood Housing announced plans to build houses and flats behind their homes.

The plans caused outrage and despite numerous objections from residents, a planning application has now been formally submitted – increasing the fears of local residents that the playing area might be lost.

Selwood plan to create access to the field, which currently only has an entrance by foot, by knocking down a semi-detached property that belongs to them and building an access road. However the proposed property due to be knocked down is attached to a private property.

Resident, Peter Alford said, “It’s unacceptable what they are trying to do. Firstly it’s a ridiculous place to build houses and flats – surely there are better places to build and the park is well used. We are due to lose the only other park when the canal is built, so what will the children of Berryfield be left with?

“I object to the development for many other reasons including increased risk of flooding, noise, loss of privacy, disturbance to wildlife observed on the site and the increased traffic issues.”

Neighbours Mr and Mrs Pritchard agreed. They said, “We are quite concerned about this application. The proposed land is used by children as a play area during summer months, as a safe haven for younger ones. However, in the winter there is a lot of surface water and mini lakes, and with it a lot of wildlife. This wil be lost if this development goes ahead.”

Richard Wood, chair of Melksham Without Parish Council said, “The council has expressed concerns about some aspects of the development, particularly about managing the work to cause as little disruption to the residents as possible; this will probably involve restricting working hours and carefully managing the lorry routes.

“The green area has never been designated as a play area or a recreational area, and there has never been any play equipment on the site. The land did have some amenity value but a significant amount of the land will still be easily accessible after the build. The biggest long term concern is parking, and each new dwelling will have a designated parking spot on site. We would hope that Selwood Housing explore any possibility of providing more parking space.

“Although, the council has welcomed the provision of some more much-needed social housing for the area.”

The application from Selwood is for eight properties with affordable one, two and three bedroom homes.

A target date of 25th March has been set for a decision from Wiltshire Council.