Plans for a 35-acre business park near Hawkeridge have been approved, despite furious opposition from local residents.
Outline planning permission was granted by Wiltshire Council’s strategic planing committee to turn farmland at Mill Lane, opposite the entrance to the West Wilts Trading Estate, into a mix of general industrial, business, storage and distribution uses which could be worth up to £32 million a year to the local economy.
Bath-based developer HPH Ltd Developers say the development could create nearly 1,400 jobs in the area and have a strategic economic importance for the whole county.
Campaigners from the Hawkeridge Action Group believe the business park is poorly sited, being more than a mile outside Westbury, and not served adequately by transport infrastructure with inadequate footpaths, public transport and street lighting.
They were also opposed to the development of a green-field site that would dwarf Hawkeridge and nearby homes, including a Grade-II listed farm.
William Wilson, chairman of the Hawkeridge Action Group, said: “We are very disappointed. They did not listen to any of our arguments. Our role now is to make the development as sympathetic to the local area as possible.”
Hawkeridge resident Derek Maguire, 68, said: “I have been a villager for 35 years. I’m appalled that green fields should go under concrete.
“Local democracy doesn’t exist. No one has listened to us, we have been steamrollered.”
But Mr Lindsay Holdoway, managing director of HPH Ltd, said: “We are delighted that this application has been approved.
“We’ve been working with Wiltshire Council on this key site since 2007 and this decision represents a major economic boost for the county.
“We have expressions of interest from businesses looking to relocate to the area, and this decision enables us to make this a reality.”
He claimed, during the meeting, that the site would be worth up to £32 million a year to the local economy.