Pickwick Conservation Area Appraisal

A most welcome development has been the formal approval by Wiltshire Council of the Appraisal as material consideration in respect of planning applications in that area at the meeting of the Northern Area Planning Committee, on Wednesday 12 October 2022.

A presentation to the NAPC by Tony Clark about the report outlined that the authors – himself and John Maloney – on behalf of the Pickwick Association had looked at the geographical and physical setting of the village, identified each listed building as well as suggested a detailed management plan as an annex. The work described how the Pickwick Conservation Area aligned with the Corsham Conservation Area as well as identifying three important character areas {the area around Middlewick Lane/A4 Junction, Pickwick Manor, and its neighbours, Beechfield). The association also made a number of suggestions as to how the Conservation Area should be managed in the future, which would be matters for Wiltshire Council to consider. It was concluded that the present extent of the existing Conservation Area is fit for purpose, with positive feedback having been received.

Following the presentation, there was an opportunity for the Committee to raise any questions or statements. The following points were raised including that it would be positive for the document to be shared with Chippenham Town Council, with Cepen Park South being the nearest community to Pickwick. The Pickwick Association was praised for its work, with it acknowledged that though on the Conservation Areas Page on the Wiltshire Council website, there are a number of management plans and appraisals completed from 2005-2019, only a few of the areas have got up-to-date plans. The importance of planning committees knowing the criteria for Conservation Areas was stressed in order to gain value from the time and effort invested into producing appraisals and plans.

Development Management Team Leader, Simon Smith congratulated the Pickwick Association as well as Councillor Belcher and Councillor Hopkinson for their work. Simon outlined that the document would not be part of a development plan but would rather fit into the category of being a material consideration, which would be considered when determining a planning application.

It was pointed out that already the document has been useful in supporting the Neighbourhood Plan as well as being used to help fight off two inappropriate developments, with it stressed that the Association does not oppose development but supports development that is appropriate. Also, previously such appraisal was conducted with planning officers; however, with them no longer having the capacity, this is a method of overcoming the problem through local people taking responsibility for their areas. In addition, this document could be used as a blueprint throughout the county to bolster the position of Wiltshire Council.

John Maloney

by | Feb 20, 2023 | News