Assize Matters

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A Fairy Tale


Once upon a time there was a grand historical building, in the centre of a small but beautiful Wiltshire town, called the Assize Court. For many years the processes of law were carried out within the stern Bath stone walls of the court, and many folk were sentenced in the dock.  Some walked under the Ionic pillars to freedom, some to death and some to endless captivity.  All human drama was there.  Tears were spilt, reputations were ruined and children were left fatherless.  Justice was seen to be done.  But then one day, as is the way of things, it became obsolete; the last sentence was delivered, and the doors were closed.  It stood, slowly decaying, for year upon year; a strange symbol of dereliction in the beating heart of the town.  And now, and then, good folk devoted much energy to finding new hope and purpose for the building.  Nothing came to pass.  The people were met by brick walls and stonewalling.  The people gave up the fight.  It crumbled.  Years, and yet more years, passed.  Good folk tried again.  No joy.  More brick walls and stone walling.  It crumbled.  Again, passionate people rallied, and tried to make sense of it.  Again, brick walls and stonewalling.  It crumbled.  Until, one day, it had crumbled beyond all hope.  At which point the land was used to build houses and offices.  And yea, verily, as some had prophesied, someone made a large pot of gold.  And lived happily ever after.


by Gail

The Devizing of a Plan

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A personal view of the Devizes Neighbourhood Plan

and the referendum at the Town Hall on Thursday


All careful plans of men may fail and fall

And falter, crumble; leaving broken stone

No reason to devise no plan at all

For no man lives by wild chance alone

There has been an edict from on high

“Thou shalt build houses here within ten years

Three hundred homes and thirty three…” then why

Not have a say and ease those planning fears

This Plan has seemed quite hard to understand

To many folk irrelevant, a bore

Yet now the vital hour is at hand

The issue far too pressing to ignore

“What consultation has there been?” the voice

Comes from the floor, comes loud and with an edge

“No one told us that we had a choice

And where are all the leaflets, in the hedge?”

It goes like this; the Trust have made a plan

Consulted up the Brittox, in the post

Collated all the info, then began

To work out where we wanted homes the most

They spoke with Parish Councils, factored in

The traffic, schools, the shops and open space

They put in measures to avoid the sin

Of building ugly stuff that spoils the place

Without the Plan the builders have free rein

To ride roughshod across our lovely land

At which point, just don’t bother to complain

The horse has bolted, galloping, unmanned

If jobs for boys there are let them be ours

Let local builders lay their firm foundations

On brownfield sites, not green fields full of flowers

With guidelines from the Plan’s considerations

No plan is perfect; yet no plan at all

Will simply give us no control, not clever

Consider this; vote Yes at the Town Hall

Or mourn the loss of favoured fields, forever


by Gail