Neighbourhood planners prepare to fight second appeal by developers

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Simon Killane. chairman of the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group Simon Killane. chairman of the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

NEIGHBOURHOOD planners in Malmesbury are preparing to fight a second appeal by developers who want to build a 77-home estate on the edge of the town.

The hearing comes as the draft blueprint for future building in Malmesbury, St Paul Without and Brokenborough is being prepared for final inspection before a referendum later this year.

White Lion Land is arguing that it should be allowed to build on land off Park Road because Wiltshire Council cannot demonstrate it has a five-year supply of land for housing.

A previous appeal was thrown out in 2012 on the grounds that the development was premature to the progress of both the county plan and the neighbourhood plan – a view White Lion Land denies in the latest appeal.

But chairman of the neighbourhood plan steering group, Simon Killane has submitted a statement to the planning inspector ahead of the appeal hearing on April 1 calling for the proposal to be refused once again.

“Our extensive evidence based assessments of all possible potential strategic sites clearly demonstrates that there are many more sustainable and appropriate sites available that can meet our development requirements up to and beyond 2026,” he said.

A huge amount of time and effort had gone into researching the need for housing in the neighbourhood area and the best sites to build homes in the future, he explained.

“Our assessments clearly demonstrate that the site proposed in this planning application does not provide the most sustainable or appropriate site location to meet our development requirements to 2026.”

But new home building in Malmesbury over recent years was well above the county average and there were many more sustainable and appropriate sites than the site off Park Road.

“We believe that our community should be given the opportunity to vote on our community-led vision for the future of Malmesbury,” he said. “Until this neighbourhood plan is approved later this year by the people, we must vigorously oppose any new proposals for major new housing developments that do not provide the best fit for our neighbourhood.”

The appeal, due to be heard in public at the Monkton Park council offices, is the second major challenge faced by the neighbourhood plan.

Gleeson Strategic Land is challenging a judicial review ruling that only Secretary of State Eric Pickles can decide its bid for 180 homes at Filands. The company was given permission by an appeal inspector but the Government said the notice was issued in error.

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