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Housing developments that were once refused by Wiltshire Council could still go ahead because Wiltshire Council’s planning policies are not up to date, local councillors say.
Councillors are warning that housing developments could be granted planning permission through appeal, by a planning inspector or the Secretary of State, because Wiltshire Council do not have an up-to-date five year land supply statement.
Councillor Jon Hubbard said, “Wiltshire Council is so far behind with drawing up its planning policies that it’s left itself at serious risk of having to grant permission for applications.
“Because Wiltshire Council can’t provide an up-to-date planning policy, its ability to refuse applications is taken away and a planning inspector or the Secretary of State will make the decision.
“Applications like Holt and Berryfield are just the tip of the iceberg and unfortunately Melksham will pay the price for the incompetency of Wiltshire Council.
“It’s a real mess and Wiltshire Council are getting away with bad organisation and communication time and time again.
“What’s really terrible is every time Wiltshire Council lose an appeal, it has to pay the developers legal costs, so it’s going to cost tax payers thousands of pounds just because Wiltshire Council is so unorganised.”
Gladman Developments has already launched an appeal to the Secretary of State against Wiltshire Council’s decision to refuse outline planning permission for 98 houses to be built in Holt.
They claim that Wiltshire Council’s policies relating to the supply of housing are out of date and according to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) where relevant policies are out-of-date, permission should be granted. A decision for the appeal is expected in June.
Councillor Terry Chivers said, “It’s absolutely disgusting and it’s a ticking time bomb. If the application for Holt gets the go ahead, it will be only a matter of time before other developers come along and apply for planning for anywhere they like. The green space between the villages and the town will disappear and the villages will lose their identity. I’m quite worried about the whole thing.”
Wiltshire Council said it was unable to comment on the situation.