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West Ashton Road Business Park approved by planning committee

December 5, 2012 11:01 PM

The developers already had outline permission (see below), and the details were up for consideration at the December 5th meeting. The committee approved the plans, though with some scepticism as to whether the scheme would be built in its proposed form.

A number of objections had been received, some concerned about the principle of development and others about the detailed design. Agenda

History:

Thirteen years ago West Wiltshire Council gave permission for a business park on the edge of Trowbridge, north of West Ashton road. Planning permission normally expires after a few years if no work takes place, but in 2010 developers Persimmon applied to extend the life of the scheme by another six years.

The application to allow more time went to West Wiltshire planning committee on Wednesday December 8th 2010, with councillors being told by planning officers that they must give consent.

However councillors decided to defer the application in order to get more information on the implications of the proposal and its impact on the local road system.

It returned to the planning committee on Wednesday Feb 9th 2011. At that time planners said the developers wouldn't now be asked to fund improvements to Yarnbrook roundabout, but in the absence of any more detailed information the committee again deferred the application, asking for a proper transport impact study on how the local road system would cope. As well as the problems around West Ashton and Yarnbrook it was pointed out that the Staverton diversion, which was part of the original 1998 transport solution, had since been abandoned.

Although the developers blamed the recession for the delay in developing the site, West Ashton Parish Council in objecting to the proposal pointed out that the recession couldn't be blamed for the lack of activity from 1998 to 2008.

The site is linked to the 'East of Trowbridge' development and the Hilperton Gap Road. On the former the developers want to increase the amount of housing from 550 to 650 units.

Despite some activity on the line of the Gap road planners say it could be at least four years before it is built.

There were a number of objections from local residents to the application, including a 119-signature petition. The objectors pointed out that development of the site would involve loss of open countryside and agricultural land, and increase the pressure on the local road system.

West Wiltshire MP Andrew Murrison added his voice to the objections. "The RSS plans, which I hope have been shelved following the change of government, would dramatically alter the character of Trowbridge and surrounding communities, " he says. "The planning application covers a major part of the RSS proposals. It is difficult to see how it would do anything other than degrade the quality of life of my constituents."

One local resident commented, "Sadly no data has been collected with reference to the increasing queue lengths at the junctions at Yarnbrook, West Ashton or County Way roundabout, nor have suitable journey time surveys been conducted, although my personal experiences as a motorist suggest considerable delays at peak times. Accident data will demonstrate several incidents at Green Lane (where the verge is already destroyed by vehicles cutting the corner) & at the bend below the crossroads, as well as numerous accidents at these junctions. The present application shows no concern for the infrastructure in this area, let alone the welfare of residents."

Two versions of the application returned to the planning committee on September 7th 2011, following the developers' decision to submit multiple applications to try to break the stalemate. Councillors decided to refuse one of these and, following a plea from the developer's agent, to defer the other for further negotiations.

This application returned to the committee on January 4th 2012. The Planning Committee decided to defer it to await the outcome of the Wiltshire Core Strategy - the next edition of the local plan. The developers meanwhile appealed against the decision to refuse the other application.

The appeal hearing was at Bradley Road on March 13th, and resulted in victory for the developers, who were also awarded costs against the council. Government Inspector Jessica Graham granted outline planning permission with fifteen conditions including a requirement for ecological surveys, for a pedestrian crossing over West Ashton Road, and for the production of a Travel Plan before development starts.

Full appeal decision