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THE community had their say on plans to develop a further 300 houses on land south of Snarlton Farm in Melksham East, at a public consultation at the Community Campus on Wednesday 9th May.
Members of the community and councillors met with representatives from the housing developer Catesby Estates, to share their views on the proposed new development.
A resident who has recently moved to Melksham said, “I am opposed to this development and was a little bit astonished to see this was happening when we were told there wouldn’t be any more development. We did not appreciate this. My big concern is water and how wet the whole area can get. It’s been an informative session and I have learnt things.”
Another resident who moved to Melksham 10 years ago for the green space in the town said, “If we were moving to Melksham now, we would never consider it. We moved for the green space and now that’s all gone or going. There just isn’t the infrastructure in the town to support more houses. There are too many houses already. It’s a dormitory town, people are living here and going out of the town to work. The roads are already at breaking point and as for the bypass, I don’t think will ever be built, certainly not in the next 30 or 40 years.
“It’s got to the point where it seems over planning. It’s too much and we don’t have the infrastructure.”
Wiltshire Councillor Nick Holder said, “I am pleased that they opened up a public consultation because it’s important that the public have the chance to comment on it so I am grateful to them for doing that. However, as things stand, I personally can’t see any merit in this application, or in this proposal and the land they have identified sits outside the current neighbourhood plan areas of development.
“There is a complete lack of connectivity with the rest of the Melksham community and they are proposing to build out into farm land which is out of the natural boundary and will go across Eastern Way. When the Bloor Homes development is finished that’s going to be a major route around Melksham. They are proposing to put in three pedestrian crossings which will slow the traffic down; they haven’t convinced me, through what I have heard today, in relation to size, scale and connectivity, and in-terms of provision of community facilities.”
Wiltshire Councillor Mike Sankey said, “I echo what Nick has said and I would add that there needs to be a balance between the impact of the development if it does go ahead to the contributions to local infrastructure, connectivity to existing developments.”
Catesby Estates director of marketing and communications Katie Yates said, “It’s been a mix of feedback today. Some people want new homes and there’s a lot that oppose them and that’s not unusual. People have shown interest in additional community facilities, for things like community centre, like a village hall, allotments, good walking routes. All of this will go into the mix when we finish the consultation so we can have a discussion of things that people have highlighted.
“The feedback shared today will be available in what’s called a statement of involvement and that will be submitted with the planning application when that goes in. That will be in the coming weeks and months.”