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It's official the Warminster expansion zone will have 1403 homes

(May 31, 2016)

ONE of Wiltshire Council's senior mandarins has confirmed at a public meeting in 'The Ath' this evening that the West Warminster Urban extension will have 1403 dwellings and not the 900 many had anticipated.

Alistair Cunningham, a long serving official at the council and now its head of planning, told a disgruntled audience of around 120 people that the 900 figure was the number up to 2026 - the other houses will be built as the plan is rolled forward to 2033.

In a nutshell he said that if the developers can show that an area of land, where the principle of development has already been conceded, can accommodate a certain number in a sustainable way then the government would not tolerate any opposition from local planners.

Angry members of the audience made point after point about the highways, drainage and lack of amenity involved in cramming in so much housing but the official supported by area planner Kenny Green skillfully batted them aside. Only 'material consideration' can be used to object.

However Vision for Warminster believes there is a major flaw in the development proposals in regard to education - which is a material consideration.

Steve Dancey, who was a member of the Wiltshire Education Comittee in the 1980s when the committee actually ran schools, say future Warminster children are being let down by today's planners and politicians.

He said: "We heard noises about providing a 'through school in the west of the town but there is little clarity about what is proposed. It is a tactical sticking plaster fix when we need some strategic thinking.

"This urban expansion expansion offers the last chance to remedy the disgrace of Warminster's acutely overloaded secondary school system. We must have two secondary schools in the town if we are to have an additional 2,000 homes dumped on us.

"Last month we as town councillors officially requested that no major development in the town be approved by Wiltshire Council until a coherent and acceptable plan for 11-16 education exists in this area.

"The proposal put forward by developers is a half-hearted penny-pinching attempt to resolve the education issue.  

"Nothing less than a new secondary school in the west of the town will do - no ifs no buts.

"Unless that is achieved Warminster children will have a poorer educational experience that children in other communities which is unacceptable. I would hope that message will be taken on board by our local MP and brought up at the highest level with education ministers."

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