Britford residents gathered outside Trowbridge County Hall to protest Wiltshire Council’s local plan that would see up to 220 homes built on a field beside their village.

Over 30 people travelled from Britford in a coach early on Wednesday, November 22, to present a petition that had been signed by more than 1000 people.

The protest was held on the final day of the eight-week consultation period for Wiltshire’s local plan.

Wiltshire Times: The protesters are worried about the development worsening the flooding risk in their village.The protesters are worried about the development worsening the flooding risk in their village. (Image: Jessica Moriarty)

The local plan is a document that all local authorities must produce to guide their “delivery of sustainable development” and it sets out Wiltshire Council’s vision for growth in the county to 2038.

Councillor Nick Botterill received the petition on behalf of the leader of Wiltshire Council, who was away at a conference.

He spoke with the residents for half an hour and thanked them for making the journey to present their views in-person.

Wiltshire Times:  Councillor Nick Botterill heard many of the residents' concerns. Councillor Nick Botterill heard many of the residents' concerns. (Image: Jessica Moriarty)

The protestors complained about the difficulties they had in using the online consultation portal and expressed their concerns about the impact the development would have on the traffic congestion, flood risk, and heritage of Britford, particularly its view of Salisbury Cathedral.

The cathedral has had the tallest church spire in the United Kingdom since 1549 and according to the residents, many people walk from the city to Britford to look at it from a distance.

A village councillor and flood warden, Nat Cole, who organised the group said: “Building 220 homes on that field is going to obliterate that view and it’s a view that honestly lifts the soul when you drive into Salisbury.”

He added: “We’re willing to fight for that view and we want to protect that view, not just for us, the people of Britford, but for the people coming for the first time to Salisbury and for residents coming back home.”

Lead petitioner and former archaeologist Dr Annabel Lawson attended the protest to express her concerns about the impact the new homes would have on Britford.

She said: “There is a large area of archaeological potential which has been drawn around the middle of this village along the water meadows.”

According to Dr Lawson, Britford was mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles as having been the place where King Edward the Confessor met with Tostig, Earl of Northumbria.

She sees the field as the ideal buffer to protect the old Anglo-Saxon settlement and Britford itself.

She concluded: “It’s not just a pretty bit of countryside, it’s more important than that.”