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150 new homes are set to be built near Berryfield after Wiltshire Council gave its permission despite throwing out almost identical plans last year, calling them ‘unacceptable’.
And the plans have been condemned by a local councillor saying it is part of a’free-for all’ for local developers.
The approved plans could see up to 150 homes and a new village hall built on fields between Semington Road and the A350 bypass. The roughly 20-acre site would be developed to a mix of one to four bedroom homes, 30% of which will be affordable housing.
The outline proposal is a scaled down version of one submitted in 2014 for 170 homes, and has doubled the developer’s contribution towards a village hall to £500,000.
Melksham Without Parish Council said it considered the site to be ‘favourable for development’, but had concerns about whether it was suitable for a small village development.
The idea of building around Berryfield has proved unpopular with residents in the past, and Wiltshire Council’s rejection of the previous plan said the development would result in “a detrimental and unacceptable change in landscape character urbanising the area between the settlements of Melksham and Berryfield”.
Melksham town and county councillor Jon Hubbard is outraged by the council’s recent u-turn.
He said, “The only thing that has really changed is that the Conservatives have failed to protect the five year land supply and now we have a ‘free-for-all’ for local developers.
“We are seeing more and more planning applications being made, and appeals being heard where developers are running amok in our community, with little or no chance of preventing excessive development because of this failure.”
In light of the council’s land supply blunder cllr Hubbard called for the resignation of Wiltshire’s cabinet member for planning and housing, cllr Toby Sturgis. He proposed a vote of no confidence in cllr Sturgis at a Wiltshire Council meeting last week but the proposal was shot down in a vote.
To see the full plans search planning reference 16/00497/OUT at www.wiltshire.gov.uk