A COUNTRYSIDE charity has urged Wiltshire Council to reconsider a proposal to sell off farmland near Chippenham as part of a plan to build houses and roads. 

It comes ahead of a judicial review of the Future Chippenham scheme, which would provide for a “southern section of the distributor road from the A4 through to the A350 junction at Lackham roundabout that would deliver between an estimated 3,800-4,200 new homes and associated infrastructure”.

CPRE has put together a report, called Reimaging Council Farms, highlighting why it believes the loss of "such irreplaceable assets" is such a mistake.

Instead, the charity says the council should be looking at courses being run at Lackham College which will provide training for young people to enter land-based businesses which are preparing for a different agri-future.


CPRE Wiltshire is particularly concerned about the prospect of the sale of council farms on the eastern side of Chippenham, connected with proposals to build a link road around Chippenham from the A350 north side to the A350 south side.

Anne Henshaw, chair of CPRE Wilts said: “It’s madness to ignore public opinion and to sell precious green spaces - and land which could be used to provide food.

"The government is putting its slavish devotion to build more executive homes above everything else. 

"The local community and Wiltshire at large does not want this. We don’t want the A350 being an expressway through our county nor the destruction of the countryside and the damage to the environment which will come with that. 

"The local elections will be an interesting barometer on these decisions.”

The CPRE Reimaging Council Farms report says: “The council farm estates across the country represent a vital and strategic national asset. They will be essential for forming a new generation that is skilled and equipped to tackle climate change and many other challenges, amongst which they must secure for us a sustainable supply of wholesome food.

“Local people now have more and better opportunities than for many decades previously to train and work on the land in rewarding, fairly-paid jobs and to set up new land-based businesses on council farmland.

"Councils are working with local organisations and businesses to engage all parts of the community, to support people new to farming and growing with training, skills development, mentoring, access to expertise and other business support.”

Wiltshire Council has been contacted for comment.