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More Bad Planning on Paxcroft Mead

June 2, 2011 7:27 PM

Wiltshire Council has approved a planning application which perpetuates many of the errors which have caused problems for people living on Paxcroft Mead.

Taylor Wimpey can now build 25 houses on the patch of land north of the cricket pitch, alongside the access road to The Mead School.

The site was originally allocated for community use, but was taken back by the developers for housing despite the opposition of the local community and with the connivance of council officers and the planning inspectorate. Outline planning permission had already been granted on appeal, and this application was for the detail of the development.

Hilperton Parish Council objected because of the impact on traffic at school times, inadequate parking within the development, and the preponderance of larger houses.

In their report to councillors extolling the merits of the scheme planning officers bent over backwards to the point of absurdity.

The developers have put a row of large houses on the frontage of the site overlooking the play areas because the fine views from here will set a premium on the prices. However the officers claim this is an act of altruism as "the layout allows for observation over the recreation space improving the sense of security for users of the space." Of course anyone who has used the recreation area in the past will have been aware of that terrible feeling of insecurity caused by the lack of overlooking three-bedroom houses.

The cramped nature of the development is shown by the way planning officers unintentionally damn it with faint praise. "Reasonable distances between properties have been maintained in order to avoid any overlooking and potential amenity impacts. Further the proposals have been arranged so that each property, save the flat has the benefit of reasonable private amenity space which does not suffer from overshadowing or overlooking. The layout allows for reasonable connectivity within the site and allows for access and egress to the wider public realm."

The last sentence here means that not only will residents be able to get into their houses, they'll also be able to get out of them. Note also the heavy use of the word 'reasonable', which usually implies surrender to the developers.

Anyone who has visited the area when the children are being collected from school will be aware that the traffic gets somewhat chaotic.

The five properties facing the existing access road will have parking in front of their houses, whilst another access road will be built for the other 20. Planning officers claim there are a total of 51 parking spaces for the 25 homes, which sounds alright until you realise that many of them are garages which won't be used for parking, and that many of the homes are 3-bedroom so they could have two or more cars per property. Inadequate parking provision has caused serious and apparently insoluble problems for residents in other parts of Paxcroft Mead.

The Parish Council's request for widening the access road is dismissed as likely to encourage speeding. "The road is wide enough to cope with traffic movements and emergency vehicles," say the planners.

At the planning committee meeting on June 2nd 2010 a proposal from Hilperton councillor Ernie Clark for a site meeting to allow councillors to appreciate the problems was narrowly defeated. A further suggestion of refusal on the grounds of inadequate parking arrangements was also lost, and the committee ended up approving the application with an added condition saying future residents had to use their garages for putting their cars in.

There was no suggestion that the same residents should provide spaces in their roofs for pigs to roost.