Thursday, 22 July 2021 19:00

Strong concerns over plans for 70 new houses in Malmesbury Featured

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PLANS for 70 new homes in Malmesbury have been submitted.

Housing developer Gleeson has recently put in a bid for full planning permission to build up to 70 houses on land south of Filands in Malmesbury.

The outline plans for the bid were seen and approved last year by Wiltshire Council’s Strategic Planning committee, which struck objectors as unusual, as normally, developments of under 200 houses would not be heard by the board.

Malmesbury councillors argued that because of the lack of school places and limited parking in the town – that the bid should not go ahead.

It was hoped that secretary of state for housing, Robert Jenrick would call in the plans and throw them out, but to the disappointment of councillors, this did not happen.

Gavin Grant, who represents Malmesbury at Wiltshire Council, said: “Malmesbury does not need yet more speculative development.

“Too many houses built here overwhelm our schools, health services and roads. We must protect our green fields, not concrete over them.”

Major concerns were highlighted by Cllr Grant last year over the Malmesbury neighbourhood plan no longer carrying weight in the planning process.

The reasons for this are two-fold, the plan is more than two years old and more critically, Wiltshire cannot demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.

This lack of land supply tilts planning balance further in favour of developers.

Members of the more than 9,000 strong Facebook community page, Our Malmesbury, are said to be anxious over the development and the additional strain it will place on the town’s infrastructure.

Other concerns raised related to affordable housing for young people starting on the property ladder and the need for more affordable and social housing.

Paul Smith, mayor of Malmesbury said: “Malmesbury Town Council is disappointed to see that Gleeson Strategic Land are apparently going to submit a planning application for another 70 houses on Filands. This site in not in the Malmesbury Area Neighbourhood Plan.

“We consider that we already have more than sufficient housing either built or in the pipeline up until 2036 and these houses are just not needed.

“In fact our local infrastructure including schools is already stretched and more housing would only make this current situation worse.

We also saw the Bloor plans for the site that had planning permission granted on land we had previously objected to.

“We note that the application assumes permission will be given to Gleeson for the other site referred to in the application as well.

“This is the education use land. Our [Malmesbury Town Council] first reaction is we have a number of serious concerns about the proposal – layout, design, lack of community facilities, lack of environmental concern and – absolutely – the presumption that permission will be given on the land that has been set aside for education use which the developer is looking to overturn and which we are strongly objecting too.”

Gleeson has been approached for comment.

Read this article on the Gazette and Herald here...

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