AN ART auction has raised over £5,000 in support of the judicial review into the Future Chippenham scheme.

Over 100 people turned out to the Cause venue in Chippenham on Sunday, December 19 to support Save Chippenham’s Stop the Sprawl Art Auction.

In total, 124 lots were bid for, representing nearly 200 pieces of art all donated by local artists.

Auction organiser, Julie-May Wheeler said: “Many of these artists are concerned about preserving our countryside and want to help.”

The auction raised money toward the pending judicial review brought by Dr Helen Stride against Wiltshire Council’s decision to press on with the Future Chippenham plans.

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At the time of writing, it is expected that a decision from the High Court is due soon.

It was not just artists, however, that were keen to show their support to the campaign.

When asked why he got involved; Gordon Brockman of True Values, an auctioneer and probate valuer, said: "I took an elder gentleman to see Birds Marsh, if you had seen the anger and the tears due to all the houses that had destroyed his beloved walk, well it’s for this reason I didn't hesitate to get involved."

A Save Chippenham spokesman said that this was a real community endeavour where many gave up their time and services free-of-charge.

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Fred said: “During lockdown we were lucky to have wonderful countryside on our doorstep.

“We should do everything we can to protect it for future generations – once it is gone, it’s gone.”

The team from Kick Design, Hayely and Lee, were responsible for the artwork and catalogue, and worked tirelessly to create what was described as “a piece of art in its own right”.

“This was a collective community response which shows together we can make things happen,” Hayley said.

A spokesman for the Save Chippenham campaign said: “The auction has definitively proved that the people running Wiltshire Council have nothing in common with the many communities who make up the county.

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“For a few weeks we came together and not only created a new community of values and ideals but showed that ideals and values can be the means to achieve practical ends.”

At the time the legal action was first launched, Wiltshire Council leader, Richard Clewer said: “An application for a judicial review has been filed with the courts and served on Wiltshire Council.

“We are liaising with our legal advisors and can confirm we will be robustly defending our position.

“As previously stated, the Future Chippenham programme does not determine the development that takes place, this decision is subject to the Local Plan review.

“Development proposed by the Future Chippenham programme will be subject to the Local Plan review and the statutory planning process.”

Future Chippenham is a council led programme setting out plans for the towns infrastructure including the layout of new roads and thousands of houses.

As well as a new road from the Lackham roundabout up to the A4, the plans include space for up to 4,200 homes.

On its website the council says the plans will ‘meet the needs for jobs and housing while addressing some of the longstanding challenges it faces such as town centre congestion and new developments delivered in a piecemeal way’.