Major planning decisions are about to be taken on planning applications for 120 houses and the loss of land available to the community for education use.
These applications are not in the democratically approved Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan. It is the strong view of Malmesbury Town Council that these planning applications are detrimental to Malmesbury and approval will undermine the future of Neighbourhood Planning in Malmesbury and across Wiltshire. Malmesbury Town Council will be making the case that these planning applications must be refused.
On Thursday 16th September Wiltshire Council’s Strategic Planning Committee will decide on an application to build 50 houses at Park Road. To the huge disappointment of Malmesbury Town Council and, against all plan led planning considerations and including the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan, the application is being recommended for approval by Wiltshire Council’s planning officer.
Mayor Paul Smith said: ‘Many residents will know the lane which passes Buildbase, leading up to the Brokenborough road, as it is often flooded especially during the winter months. This is also a bat corridor and home to valuable wildlife, birds and the landscape borders onto an AONB “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. It is outside the town’s settlement area, and not allocated for any form of development in any development plan. Plans for housing here have been rejected before. There is complete agreement the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan is delivering all the housing needs identified for Malmesbury until at last 2036. Approval of this application would absolutely undermine public confidence in the current planning system.’
Preparations are also being made for a Planning Inspector to decide on Appeals by Bloor Homes to seize back land at Filands allocated for education use so it can be used as a location for an additional 70 houses. Notice has been received that a four day hearing will be held this November. Malmesbury Town Council has strongly objected to Bloor’s planning applications for this site and will take every step it can at the hearing to persuade the Planning Inspector to reject Bloor’s applications and ensure the land continues to be available for education use.
Councillor Kim Power, Lead of the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan Working Group said. ‘This is another speculative profit motivated proposal for housing that flies in the face of the plan led approach to development enshrined in the democratically agreed Neighbourhood Plan. If approved it will take away land that is essential for education use, including the provision of a new nursery that is so urgently required in Malmesbury and which can quickly be developed here, alongside other vital education uses.’
Speaking about both applications, Mayor Paul Smith said:
Over the last few years, a considerable amount of new housing has been built in Malmesbury. Over new 200 houses are about to be built at Backbridge and plans for another site 70 new houses at Filands were forced through by Wiltshire Council’s Strategic Planning Committee last year. We are ahead of Wiltshire Council’s 2016 to 2036 housing target for Malmesbury by over 100 houses. Wiltshire Council’s Education Department have confirmed that Malmesbury’s primary schools are full and children living in Malmesbury are already being bussed to Lea and Garsdon Primary School, which will also be full when approved building is completed. Malmesbury Primary must be expanded and the option to build a new school on Filands must be retained. Extra nursery space is also needed. We cannot afford to lose the education use of that land. If these applications are approved all of our community’s hard work in helping create and deliver plans that can work in Malmesbury will be thrown away and huge damage done to our and Wiltshire Council’s ability to plan for the future. We believe it is important that residents are fully aware of this situation and that we will continue to represent the best interests of our town by strongly objecting to these applications.’
Councillor Paul Smith, Mayor of Malmesbury
Wiltshire Council Application references: 21/01641/OUT & 20/05470/106
Planning Inspectorate website link: https://acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/ Refs: APP/Y3940/W/21/3278256 and 3278923
Land Off Park Road
Wiltshire Council Application reference: 19/05898/OUT https://development.wiltshire.gov.uk/pr/s/planning-application/a0i3z000014etjQAAQ/1905898out