Fears over 'urban sprawl' Ridgeway Farm development bid for North Wiltshire
A WILTSHIRE councillor has warned that a 700-home estate designed to accommodate a Swindon expansion could go ahead.
At this month's Royal Wootton Bassett and Cricklade Area Board meeting, Cllr Peter Colmer (Con, Cricklade) said plans for Ridgeway Farm, which would eat into countryside separating Swindon and Wiltshire, could be permitted if inspectors give weight to an outdated planning policy.
Wiltshire Council does not currently have an official master plan in place to shape future development because a new housing plan called the Wiltshire Core Strategy is still waiting to be approved by the Government.
Without this, planning inspectors may rely on an outdated Government-led five year housing plan called the Regional Spatial Strategy, to make planning decisions.
Last month a 200-home estate in Calne, rejected by Wiltshire Council earlier this year because it was not part of future development plans for the area, was approved on appeal by a planning inspector who quoted the RSS as his reason for approval.
Cllr Colmer said this decision indicated the council could be powerless to prevent future unwanted developments until the Wiltshire Core Strategy was officially in place.
Swindon Borough Council was recently unable to oppose a 1,700 home development at Tadpole Farm for the same reasons.
Cllr Colmer, who is leading an action group against ‘urban sprawl’ said: "I always believed the Tadpole Farm was the sacrificed lamb to have Ridgeway rejected but if they’re quoting the RSS I’ve got a fear that Ridgeway Farm will go through."