This planning application for car parking at the southern part of The Close has a very long history:
• In 1997 the former tennis courts were sacrificed on a temporary basis to ensure that the rest of The Close was protected from traffic.
• The Chapter were tasked by the planning authority with producing a strategic traffic management plan designed to protect the amenities of The Close, of which Marsh Close is a part, and to reduce the absolute numbers of cars entering The Close.
• A Wiltshire Council report in 2011 made particular note of the sensitivity and importance of the southern part of The Close.
• In 1997 the key conditions were for the applicant to reduce visual impact, reduce disturbance to the Grade I listed setting and reduce carbon footprint.
• The application in its current form tries to negate these reasonable and highly sensible conditions and the thinking behind it is absolutely at odds with the semi-rural nature of Marsh Close. It would in fact multiply the number of vehicles parked.
The Society’s submission stresses that permanent permission should only be granted with the following conditions:
• Submission of revised plans for the car park (and associated spaces for residents of 72-74 The Close) which:
o Improve the appearance of the car park through professional landscape design including the introduction of trees and other planting, replacement of the tarmacadam and paint markings with a more sympathetic surface.
o Address flooding issues (and improve the aesthetic appearance of the car park) including through replacement of the car park surface with a permeable surface and planting.
o Reintroduce a barrier (preferably a green barrier) between the car park and the road (ie between the car park and the Marsh Close southern hedge).
• No further parking on Marsh Close at any time. Organised activities on Marsh Close to be specifically limited to the day-time, with an annual limit on those activities and a complete ban on any activities at odds with its “semi-rural” nature. (This would require a covenant.)
• Development of a plan for the “absolute” reduction of traffic flow in The Close in accordance with previous conditions as a part of an overall plan for The Close’s buildings and landscape.