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River Wylye Homes Plan Refused

(April 07, 2016)

Wiltshire Councillors have turned down by seven votes to four a controversial plan to build 35 homes by the River Wylye.

The outline application for the custom build properties for Spurt Mead was re-submitted by HPH Ltd  after the previous permission was quashed by a Judge.

Then councillors gave the go-ahead because the district plan was out of date and the new Core Strategy had not been adopted.

Councillors at county hall were told by the planning officer that it had to be considered afresh based on current planning policies which involved the Core Strategy policies.

Two local residents, Nick Parker and Alistair Wright, and local town councillor Paul Macdonald each spoke for three minutes opposing the plan.

"The creation of new dwellings here is outside the defined settlement boundary now set in stone by the Core Strategy," said Cllr. Macdonald.

"It therefore has to be an exception case. This application does not meet the exceptions allowed.

"It is not for an agricultural need, it does not provide 1oo per cent social housing, and it does not deliver a much needed community asset like a village hall.

"The government have not added custom design projects to the exceptions list."

Councillor Macdonald went on to argue that the town and the county could meet government housing targets using 'windfall sites'.

"In fact just over a week ago the government handed Westbury one putting the Regular Commissions Board site up for sale which could deliver 80 homes," said Cllr. Macdonald.

"Surely the setting of Leighton House with a lake in the grounds and the listed build would make a superb place a custom design team to get their teeth into.

"I urge you to put your full weight behind the Core Strategy policies and tell developers that they had their chance to get the settlement lines moved and they must now accept them until 2026."

Local Wiltshire Councillor Andrew Davis supported this view and proposed that plan be rejected for two reasons seconded by Councillor Christopher Newbury 'as the next nearest member'.

"I propose that this is refused on as it is outside Core Policy two and it would lead to a coalescence of Warminster with Bishopstrow," said Councillor Davis.

After having an aerial view of the site flashed up on a huge screen and pointing out its important role as a 'buffer' councillor Davis caused a light-hearted moment when he said 'coalition' instead of coalescence.

"Exception case it is not," added Cllr. Davis regaining his composure. "It is an outline planning application. We do not know what we are going to get."

"You need a strong reason to go against the development plan," said Councillor Christopher Newbury.

"The Core Policy is not dead in the water. Coalescence is a strong reason to refuse."

Councillors voted by seven votes to four to refuse for the reasons proposed.

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