Save Wiltshire's Historic Orchard

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Land developers are planning to bulldoze a rare and beautiful historic Orchard in Trowbridge, Wiltshire. It is among the country's few remaining historical orchards, dating back to 1870, and located to the rear of a stunning Grade II* listed property.

Plans to build 21 'luxury' homes on the site will cause the irreversible loss of many rare fruit trees, many of which are over 140 years old. Bat roosts, badger setts, bird and butterfly habitats will also be destroyed permanently. 

 

A scandal?

The Council planning department have not fulfilled their minimal legal obligations to consult "community amenity bodies", such as the Georgian Group, Victorian Society, the Ancient Monuments Society.

The landowner's submitted arboricultural report has downgraded many of the ancient and veteran trees. Their ecology report has also fallaciously reported that there are no significant bat roosting sites (see the Protection of Endangered Species report here), their archaeologists never even entered the building!

 Progress is being made

Since the petition began, Historic England, The Wiltshire county ecologist, archaeologist, highways department, and the Town Council have all objected to these plans. 

NEW! - At our request, The Georgian Group, Victorian Society and Ancient Monuments Society have all similarly objected to the proposals

Historic England have said that this 'housing estate' would "destroy the building's historical status and setting" and the proposed plans are "wrong and inappropriate".

Get involved with the conversation by joining our Facebook group here

A viable alternative

We have put forward a low cost, viable alternative for the orchard to be used as a community orchard, preserving its wildlife and rare trees while serving the wider community. Take a look at the proposal online here.

We are calling upon Wiltshire Council and the planning authorities to:

  • Reject the proposed plan to build on the greenfield orchard space
  • Insist that the housing developers fully explore opportunities for the orchard to be used as community space, e.g. for learning, forest schools, community events, wellness sessions, gardening and horticulture training and wildlife conservation.
  • Formally consult Historic England on future proposed plans - ACHIEVED! - read their full report

The site is ideally suited near the centre of the town centre park and could be made easily accessible with a gate. The proposed houses are primarily luxury properties, and will not serve to alleviate a lack of affordable housing. Trowbridge town is a former mill town, with many disused buildings that can be redeveloped for housing.

This is a precious and rare greenfield site near the centre of an old market town, which several non-profit organisations have already expressed interest in managing the site, such as setting up a community orchard. Please help us preserve this precious space.

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To see the main planning document click here (see all the planning documents here)

Send your objections to Wiltshire Council by clicking here



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