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Murray Walk damage ‘will be repaired’

Cllr Martin Pain with residents Graham Stoker, Sue Stoker, Gill Cardy, Monica Travers and Dr Ian Cardy.

RESIDENTS from the Murray Walk area met with a representative from Cooper Tire Europe last week who offered further reassurance that the damage to the Murray Walk fields will be repaired.

The possibility of “letting the fields go back to grass” was also discussed, giving hope to the residents who were horrified by the damage caused to trees, hedgerows and the habitats of protected species of wildlife in October. The damage was caused after local farmer Tim Farthing from Halfway House Farm in Beanacre, built alternative access to the fields he rents from Cooper Tire, to harvest crops in danger of being damaged by an oncoming storm.

Presenting a letter to the company asking  them to “restore the damage to the stream and its banks”, the residents were met by chief engineer, Philip Schneider. Confirming that Cooper Tire Europe had never given permission for the temporary crossing, he reassured the residents that work was in progress with the cooperation of Tim Farthing, Wiltshire Council and the Environment Agency, for the farmer to remedy the situation.

About the possibility of a permanent crossing being built across the stream once the rubble has been removed, Philip Schneider said, “Before a planning application can be submitted or considered, Wiltshire Council has asked that a study of water voles and other wildlife in the area be carried out. This is a prerequisite of the application process.”

Explaining to the group that the rent Cooper Tire Europe receives for the land is negligible, Philip speculated that the land should be left to go back to grass, but that this would need to be discussed by the CEO of Cooper Tire Europe and other board members.

Cllr Martin Pain, who accompanied the group to present the letter said, “All in all it was a really good honest exchange of ideas, no question went unanswered and it may be that some very good news may emanate from Coopers regarding the future community use of their fields.”

Praising the residents who took action, cllr Pain continued, “And our gratitude must also go to those good people of Melksham who regard community action as a necessary responsibility if we are to protect our environment and leave a healthy eco-legacy for generations to come.”

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