A Planning Inquiry is being held at Malmesbury Town Hall from Tuesday 23rd November 2021 until the 2nd or 3rd December 2021. This is for the presentation of evidence to a Planning Inspector to decide if planning permission should be granted for housing on a site on Filands, which has been set aside for a future primary school and other educational uses.
Bloor Homes South West are now asking for permission to build 78 houses or alternatively 70 houses and a small preschool on this site. This latter is at an unsuitable location and partially on land which is ‘unusable’, because of utilities.
The main parties at the Inquiry are Bloor Homes South West and Wiltshire Council. However, because the outcome is so important for the future of Neighbourhood Planning in Malmesbury and across Wiltshire, Malmesbury Town Council and Malmesbury Civic Trust have both applied to take part in the Inquiry.
Leading the representation for Malmesbury Town Council, Councillor Kim Power, who also chairs the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan Working Group, said:
We are opposing the loss of this ‘educational purposes’. This designation is required to allow us to plan for the future. Its replacement by more residential houses in excess of those already being delivered by the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan and required locally will fundamentally undermine confidence in plan led decision making and the huge work of our community to build and operate its Neighbourhood Plan. This is not NIMBYism. To those who say we should have more housing in Malmesbury, then please be reassured that there are more over 300 new homes in the pipeline to built in Malmesbury over the next four years. We have also well exceeded the minimum housing requirement being asked of us by Wiltshire Council until 2036. What we do need is infrastructure such as schools and other services to be provided alongside the new houses we have already seen and are still planned. We already have a situation where some Malmesbury children are bussed outside the town to another school and huge strain on other infrastructure. There are also ecological and traffic/ highways issues at this particular site.
Myself and colleagues Cllr. Campbell Ritchie, Cllr. Philip Exton, our Mayor, Cllr. Paul Smith and our Wiltshire Councillor Gavin Grant are working on evidence for the appeals and will do our utmost at the Inquiry to present a case which is in the best interests of Malmesbury residents. As far as we are aware the inquiry will be open to the public, should you wish to come along, hear it and perhaps even comment– that is Covid precautions permitting. More details will be posted nearer the time.
Cllr Mrs. Kim Power – Deputy Mayor of Malmesbury