CONTROVERSIAL plans that could have ‘ripped Malmesbury in half’ have been scrapped after pressure from residents.

In February, The Local Government Boundary Commission started an electoral review of Wiltshire Council, and recommend a boundary change that would have seen the centre of Malmesbury be part of the Sherston division.

The bizarre recommendation would have resulted in the Town Hall, the Cross Hayes car park, and the High Street all falling in the Sherston division.

Following objections from residents, the Boundary Commission has now gone back on its proposal and has agreed with the town and Wiltshire Council, and many residents who responded, to allocate the future Backbridge Farm Estate in the Sherston division.

The Commission says that of the 640 responses it received to its proposals across the whole of Wiltshire, 200 objections were received to its Malmesbury proposal.

The Wiltshire Council report concludes: “We recommend a division comprising the current Sherston division and the Backbridge Farm development of Malmesbury town.

"Malmesbury Town Council proposed that the name of the development be given to a town council ward and we accept that proposal as part of our final recommendations.”

Wiltshire Councillor for Malmesbury Gavin Grant said: “I am delighted that the commission has seen sense and left Malmesbury alone rather than ripping it apart.

"I am also very grateful to‎ the 200 individuals, organisations, businesses and our town council in joining me to oppose their ridiculous plan.

“It’s another successful example of ‘people power’ making those in authority pay attention to our community.”