I have recently attended meetings in Devizes on forward planning for our town. The government has decreed that Wiltshire as a county has to build 42,000 houses before 2026 and Marlborough's share of that number is approximately three hundred new homes.
I know this sounds a lot for a small market town like Marlborough to absorb but, two hundred and twenty new homes are designated for the Salisbury Road site opposite Tesco which leaves us roughly eighty more homes to reach government targets. There are several small planning applications in the pipeline at present which will account for a number of our quota. As the rest do not have be completed until 2026, one hopes that small infill slots over the next ten years can accommodate most of this number. We are very lucky that the town is not one of the three Principal Settlements in Wiltshire which will take the lion's share of Wiltshire's quota and that we also sit within an AONB (Area of Natural Beauty), so we are afforded some protection from massive development.
The Town Council has already objected to the proliferation of luxury retirement homes being built in our town and we continue to state clearly that this type of development makes our community top heavy. We continue to press for affordable starter homes which we all know are in short supply.
I spent a very pleasant evening at North Wiltshire Girl Guiding Awards in the Legends Lounge of Swindon Town Football Club. Eight girls from the Marlborough area did very well indeed with four of them being awarded the Baden Powell Award and a further four awarded the Chief Guides Challenge in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff of Wiltshire. There were at least two hundred girls representing packs from north Wiltshire, and it was delightful and very interesting to hear the challenges that these girls take on and about their many overseas trips.
I did mention in my December blog that the Town Council has applied for a Community Asset Transfer for Coopers Meadow - an asset which is currently owned by Wiltshire Council and now being transferred to Marlborough Town Council. I also asked that if anyone had any ideas to enhance the meadow to let me know. So far, suggestions include enlarging the play area, adding seats and tables for picnics and something recreational such as a trim trail for older children.
All good ideas and I think if these are combined with the lovely river walk (which really looks at its best in the spring and summer thanks to ARK (Action for the River Kennet)) plus a visit to see the lambs then it would all add up to make a pleasant afternoon out at little or no cost for Marlborough families. Anyway, please keep the suggestions coming in. Nothing is set in stone yet and we really do appreciate your suggestions.