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Developers attack as Wiltshire's plan collapses.

February 8, 2014 8:28 PM

An Inquiry into Wiltshire's Core Strategy - intended to set out the pattern of development in the county up to 2026 - was held last summer. The Inquiry report has not yet been published, but the Inspector who conducted it has already told the council he's unhappy about several aspects of the plan.

The most important of these is housing numbers. The Inspector has demanded that more land be allocated for housing. As the council hasn't yet worked out where that land should be, property developers are coming in with their own suggestions, and provided the developments are not completely mad, the council is effectively left with little choice but to permit them. The Inspector instructed that the Core Strategy housing requirement should be increased by 5,000 to 42,000 homes in Wiltshire.

Towns such as Devizes, Calne, Warminster and Westbury are particularly vulnerable.

For example an application for 125 houses at Marden Farm in Calne was refused by the council's Strategic Planning Committee in July 2013. The developers appealed, and council planning officers took the application back to committee in January 2014 saying it would not now be possible to defend the appeal so the site should be conceded and the developer invited to re-apply with the presumption that permission would then be given.

Also at the January meeting permission was given for 450 houses at Easton Lane in Chippenham.

At the SPC meeting on February 12th an application from the Crown Estates for 230 houses on land at Lay Wood, south of Horton Road in Devizes is recommended for permission, despite part of the site being outside the previously recognised development limits of the town.

The February SPC meeting will also reconsider Coate Bridge, adjacent to Windsor Drive, Devizes. The scenario is similar to Marden Farm. The Coate Bridge application for 350 houses was refused in September 2013, but officers now say this refusal is not defendable at appeal so permission should be given, subject to an archaeological assessment.

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Your say: "You will be aware of the clamour that proposals for large areas of housing in the Bishopstrow and Boreham areas of Warminster East are causing. My particular concern is that a village community will in effect be swallowed up by the town, as the proposal would effectively conurbate Warminster and Bishopstrow. The proposals are outside the agreed envelope and town plan. They are unwelcome speculation at a time when there is more than enough land allocated to housing in the Warminster west area." Warminster resident.