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WILTSHIRE Council has approved the final details to develop 144 houses on agricultural land in Semington, in a planning meeting held on 10th May.
Outline planning permission for the new development was granted in 2021, despite strong objections by the community and parish councillors around loss of green space, impact to wildlife habitats, and the impact on increased traffic to the area and the town’s already stretched resources. Local residents were also concerned over access through the private Shails Lane.
Melksham Without Parish Council (MWPC) attended the planning meeting and cllr Richard Wood spoke to represent the parish council’s view. The council had supported the ‘call in’ by cllr Jonathon Seed to enable the planning application to be decided by elected councillors, rather than a planning officer, in order to request some conditions.
Improving children’s safety
The site for the 144 houses is between the A350 and Semington Road, to the north of Hampton Park commercial area. The parish council has said that the location is not sustainable as the site is isolated, but as the site now has permission, they have worked with cllr Seed, the planning officers, and David Wilson Homes to ensure that the safety and connectivity of walking routes were put in place.
Cllr Richard Wood said, “We are pleased to see that money (£200,000) previously allocated to improving the A350 toucan crossing, which was undertaken by Wiltshire Council last year, will now go into a fund to improve the safety of children with an improved route to the new school planned for Pathfinder Place, and onwards to Melksham Oak.
“In addition, funds for the parish council to put into a footbridge across the brook to connect the two communities with a direct route to the new Berryfield Village Hall. Concerns about access onto the private Shails Lane have also been allayed with the concern that residents would be tempted to use the lane to access Bowerhill, crossing the busy A350 where there was no crossing, as a security fence will be erected before occupation.”