Shock as planning inspector pushes aside neighbourhood plan and allows 180-home estate in historic town
MALMESBURY is reeling this morning after a government planning inspector dismissed attempts by locals to draw up a neighbourhood plan and allowed a 180-home housing estate on the edge of the town.
The steering group, which had drawn up a draft blueprint suggesting alternative sites for housing and published it just as the appeal by Gleeston Strategic Land started, is now working through inspector Colin Thompson’s decision to see if anything can be salvaged.
Steering group chairman Cllr Simon Killane said: “The decision contradicts the government’s own rhetoric about localism, the democratic wishes of the Wiltshire Council and the people of Malmesbury.” The inspector’s ruling comes just a month after nearby Tetbury was told by an inspector that it would have to accept almost 300 more homes.
In his conclusions Mr Thompson said there were no specifically identified sites in the current plan for the area and on the balance of probabilities it was likely that there would be a shortfall in the five-year supply for housing development in North and West Wiltshire.
He added: “I have considered whether allowing the development proposed now would have such a negative community effect, through prematurity, as to prejudice the ability of any future adopted draft Wiltshire Core Strategy, or draft Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan, to influence the siting, location or phasing, of new development either within the wider district as a whole or as regards this market town in particular.
“But I have concluded that there are no such significant negative effects sufficient to outweigh the presumption in favour of sustainable development.”
More follows later