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Neighbourhood plan gets council approval

Melksham’s Neighbourhood Plan is an important step nearer to completion now both the area’s councils have approved the draft.

Councillors from both Melksham Town and Melksham Without councils have recently considered, commented on and approved a draft plan document.

The Melksham Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is meeting on Wednesday 11th January to receive councillor comments and to commission an external planning expert to help it progress to the next stage.

The 112-page draft neighbourhood plan contains a series of policies supported by background information as supporting evidence. These policies cover themes including major local projects;

• Supporting major projects to benefit the local community

• Allocating land to create jobs and boost the local economy

• Town centre regeneration

• Funding new developments to benefit the community

• Land allocations for community benefit and health purposes

• Design of housing estates

• Design of estate roads and car parking

• Design of housing

• Transport and traffic management

• Limiting the number of new houses developed.

Neighbourhood plan spokesman Nick Westbrook says, “Melksham cannot avoid playing its part in meeting central government’s target for new housing to meet the demand for affordable homes to buy and to rent.

“Our problem is that new housing is being built locally but unfortunately developers are not building the work spaces or community and health facilities needed to meet the needs of our rapidly rising population.”

The next stage of the neighbourhood plan is the production of a Regulation 14 document, which will be used to support a six-week public consultation programme to let local people have a final say.

Nick added, “Whilst we cannot stop the new building in and around Melksham, we can say how many houses are built, where they are built, and what other employment and community services are needed to support local residents.

“A lot of work has gone into creating a cohesive Melksham Neighbourhood Plan.  It is the only way to control what developers can and cannot build.”

More information is online at www.melksham neighbourhoodplan.org.