Malmesbury reveals preferred sites for supermarkets and houses
NEITHER of the sites targeted by rival supermarket chains for new stores at Malmesbury have been chosen as favourites by locals drawing up the town’s first ever neighbourhood plan.
Out of five potential locations, the Sainsbury’s site at Malmesbury Garden Centre was rated worst, while land at the back of Avon Silk Mills proposed by Waitrose was only third choice.
A phantom town centre location was selected as the ideal, with the Station Yard – first suggested in the workshops run by the Princes Foundation earlier in the year – in second place.
The preferred locations were unveiled at an exhibition on Saturday where possible sites for housing developments were also revealed.
Wiltshire Councillor Simon Killane, who chairs the steering group that is working on the plan, said there was a lot of curiosity and a generally positive reaction.
“I believe we had up to 400 people there,” he said. “I only had one person in the whole day who had a go at me, which, when you are talking about such a big issue, you would think you would be bound to get a few.”
He explained the town centre “phantom” site was meant to represent the ideal. “The problem with that is that it is not deliverable.”
He admitted there were also deliverability problems with the Station Yard where Hilditch auction house is currently based, but added: “We can now as a group talk to Hilditch.”
Land north west of Reeds Farm was listed fourth.
Most favoured housing development site was off Silveston Way. Least favoured were Whychurch Farm and Abbey View Farm.
“It is not just about the abbey and the views of the abbey,” he explained. “The other sites, we felt, were closer to neighbourhood centres.”
There was also a move towards smaller developments spread over the town rather than large estates with the potential to create a “Malmesbury New Town.”
The steering group is aiming to have a draft plan ready in time for a referendum in May. Its findings so far can be seen on its website at malmesburyneighbourhood.com. Once adopted by Wiltshire Council it will become part of the strategy for the county up to 2026.