Wiltshire Publications

Residents react to football club’s housing plans

RESIDENTS have expressed their concerns about the news that Westbury United FC is proposing to sell off part of its land for housing to fund a new clubhouse and changing room facility.

In response to the plans to sell off the current overflow car park at the Meadow Lane ground for 11 privately-owned houses,  locals have said that Westbury does not need more housing and that there should be more focus on improving the infrastructure of the town first.

However, the football club has offered reassurance that the plans are still in their infancy and the community will be properly consulted in the future.

Alison Barnet, who has lived next door to the club for 26 years on Meadow Lane spoke to White Horse News, “I’m angry that they never came and said anything, they never asked anybody. I’m concerned that when they sell the land, where will the visitors park?

“We have enough houses in Westbury. Can we as a community not join together to help build their club house? Any bit of land in Westbury is used as a dumping ground for housing estates, with no infrastructure to keep it going.”

Cleve May commented on White Horse News’ Facebook page saying, “Surely this town requires facilities, like a post office for the community; shortly we will be down to one bank in the town as well! Surely we do not need more and more houses! It doesn’t matter what local people think, the decision is probably already made.”

Peter Kent also commented, “No no no no – have boot sales there instead or a Friday market, something to bring the money in, but also preserve our green patches.”

Despite opposition from residents, others welcomed the idea and hope that it will bring more to the community. Bradley Dyer commented,  “Great idea, making use of a space that’s currently wasted. It will improve the club’s facilities who in turn can share with the local community.”

In response to the concerns, chairman of Westbury United, Greg Coulson said, “Westbury United FC is aware of the concerns from the surrounding community with regards to the sale and development of the land. We would like to make it clear that we are only one small step down a long road.

“We understand that as part of the planning process there will be public consultation and our neighbours will get the chance to ask questions and offer suggestions. We believe that we will be left with enough parking for a normal match day as the majority of our crowd arrive on foot. The area that will be left for parking will be reorganised, freeing up space for more parking behind the stand and adjacent to the clubhouse.

“It is our ambition to open the clubhouse to the public as a fulltime ‘sports bar’ showing live football. This is something that Westbury lacks. The current structure is over 70 years old and is desperate need of renovation. We plan to build a modern flexible structure that can be adapted to accommodate most types of events at a competitive price. It will also include a modern kitchen and changing room facilities.”