Steve's thoughts on the settlement boundary meeting(October 15, 2014)
THE building of nearly two thousand homes around Warminster in the years between 2006 and 2026 will have a big impact on the town - but these impacts will be coupled with much greater challenges we will face as a result of the ongoing demographic transition now taking place nationally and locally.
On Tuesday the county's director of economy and enterprise, Alastair Cunningham confirmed to me in public session that as part of the emerging core strategy Warminster needs to have allocations of 1,920 homes between 2006 and 2026
So far 504 have been completed while there have been 1,099 developable commitments given for 2014 - 2026 leaving us to find 317 homes more spaces.
Finding this smaller number is perfectly possible from what planners call 'windfall' sites, revealed Mr Cunningham, so it meant on Tuesday that we didn't need to earmark any more green-field sites on the edge of town over and above those already allocated.
As soon as the Government appointed planning inspector finishes his work and the core strategy is adopted it means we have much better defendable protection against speculative development. This is to be welcomed. Even though the strategy is not yet adopted every step it advances, even the contribution provided by Warminster Town Council, gives it additional weight.
I mentioned earlier the impact of the demographic transition currently under way - the rapid ageing of our population over the next 25 years. It is a change in our population structure that will potentially overwhelm our health services, which are already under severe stress.
Locally the crying need for Warminster is to have a new large GP surgery on the western outskirts of the town, a reinstated Minor Injuries Unit and more locally based hospital service - combined with some community facilities. Their provision must form part of the Western Urban Expansion. If the WUE was halted and the 'balanced' penny packet development approach adopted we would certainly lose any chance of getting a new GP surgery in the west.
What made me feel a little sad last night was the way some councillors talked of 'my people' in 'my ward'.
Surely we are here to represent and serve the whole town.
I can recall a time when there were no electoral wards in the town and when I was elected in the 1980s I don't ever recall arguing about west and east with councillor Joan Main. We both represented the whole town.
I currently live in the town centre and have been living in the Warminster area since the 1950s - representing West ward and now the East ward. Not once have I ever looked to advantage one side of the town against the other and shame on any councillors who think in that way.
The result of the vote on Tuesday saw us making the best use of the hand we were dealt .