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MELKSHAM is under threat from a new phase of inappropriate and unsustainable housing developments.
That’s the concern of Melksham Without Parish Council which has raised serious concerns about Wiltshire Council’s housing policy.
Recently, plans have been announced for over 400 homes – 150 homes on land off Woodrow Road; 50 on land west of Semington Road; and 240 homes on land to the south of Western Way. And councillors fear that it is ‘open season’ and that more could be on the way.
Parish councillors fear a whole host of new housing developments will be granted because of Wiltshire Council’s failure to maintain a five-year land supply. This means there is an insufficient number of ‘deliverable sites’ to provide five years’ worth of housing which has opened Melksham up to ‘piecemeal developments’ that are ‘unsustainable’ and ‘inappropriate’.
“The loss of a five-year land supply has meant that it is open season for opportunistic housing development applications,” said chair of the parish council, cllr Richard Wood, at last week’s planning committee meeting. “[Wiltshire Council should] gird their loins and oppose!”
At the meeting, parish councillors resolved, “to write to Wiltshire Council to express concern about the domino effect of the lack of five-year land supply, and urge Wiltshire Council to oppose any of the opportunistic applications which are unsustainable and inappropriate.”
“There is plenty of evidence that this is a big problem for the Melksham area,” explained cllr Alan Baines, who also raised concerns that the recent batch of piecemeal development applications could ‘exacerbate’ ongoing issues surrounding the lack of infrastructure to support the area’s growing population.
“Not only have we had two developments that probably wouldn’t have happened without the previous problem of the five-year land supply, but it is now leading to further applications on the back of that,” continued cllr Baines.
Wiltshire Council’s has admitted that it has failed to maintain a five-year land supply. Along with Government changes to national planning rules, it means that sites previously deemed unsuitable can be revisited for potential development.
Wiltshire Council has said that is working towards restoring the county’s five-year land supply – but the parish council’s clerk, Teresa Strange, has raised concern that there does not appear to be any urgency at Wiltshire Council to deal with the ‘big problem’ and that the lack of five-year land supply had become ‘accepted’.
And now parish councillors are asking Wiltshire Council to “stand their ground” against “inappropriate” developments, “even if they can’t afford to defend it at appeal”.