Bid to save Wiltshire village green and community center from ‘almost criminal development’

A councilor has launched a bid to save a Wiltshire village from ‘almost criminal’ development. Applications have been submitted for the green and community center in Rudloe, Corsham, to be classified as an asset of community value (ACV) to try to prevent the sites from being built.

Villagers fear their greenery will be turned into homes after Wiltshire Council announced it was selling its share of the land. The community center was built for £750,000 in 2002 and closed in 2017, not for lack of use, claimants say, “but because of management issues”.

A VCA is land or property of importance to a local community that is subject to additional protection against development.

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Wiltshire councilor Derek Walters submitted the bid and says all is not as it seems with the proposals. He said Wiltshire Council had struggled to understand the needs of the Rudloe community.

He said: “Council gets rid of a center that has been empty for four years, the housing association gets cheap building land and an opportunity to revamp/rebuild rundown housing. But look a little more away and it doesn’t become such a rosy pattern.

“Green is well liked. Kids have been playing it for 60 years and they still play it. The community center is in good condition and is only 20 years old.

“When Wiltshire Council held a consultation on the future of the Green, more than 70 people objected, an unprecedented number according to council officials. They wrote about how important this green space was to them.

“Since then, more than 300 people have signed a petition to save the region from development. Is it any wonder that people feel ignored by the authorities and that democracy doesn’t work for them? »

“Demolishing would be almost criminal”

Cllr Walters also expressed environmental concerns about the proposals. He said: “To demolish a building like this, in good condition and only 20 years old, without first trying to repurpose it is almost criminal after COP26.

“The center is in the middle of a growing community – Park Place, Dicken’s Gate are new areas and RAF2, which has not yet been built, is due shortly. This new accommodation puts the center at the very heart of a larger community and could offer a café/shop, a nursery school, exercise classes such as yoga, clubs such as table tennis, children’s parties, bingo, events like the Jubilee.

“So we have a well-maintained center in the right place with the money to reallocate it if needed, popular with the community and a strong case for not tearing it down and generating more carbon.”

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