At last weeks Parish Council meeting, our Representative Member on Wiltshire Council, Jonathon Seed, talked about the Wiltshire Local Plan Review, and stressed how important he felt it was that villagers registered their interest in the consultation, which is due to close on Tuesday 9th March.
Wiltshire Council is consulting on the provision of nearly 46,000 homes across Wiltshire up to 2036. As Jonathan explained: “A large number of those have already been built or allocated. There is a quite strong debate going on within all parties and all councillors as to whether there should be 46,000 or 41,000 which is what the Government originally talked about.
When all that filters down, there are decisions to be made on which Housing Market Area villages and towns fall in to. The HMA allocation has changed, and Keevil is one of those villages that actually moves from Melksham (and therefore Chippenham) to Trowbridge. Now, there are advantages either side of that. Chippenham is being asked to take an enormous number of houses at the moment, which many think is disproportionate, but if the total number comes down from 46,000 to 41,000, which there are arguments for, that again may change substantially.”
Although Keevil is a designated Small Village, Jonathon urged caution: “Where it says that local villages won’t have to take any of the strategic uplift in housing numbers – that may well apply to the village and the village line, but it doesn’t necessarily apply where a small village may well suddenly find, within the ground that it technically holds within it’s parish boundary, a much larger group of houses that may well be part of a town expansion. I’ll give you an example: Steeple Ashton have part of their parish boundary to the north of the A350, and recently have had a planning application made – in fact bats stopped that – but it would be unsurprising if that wasn’t put in, and that might skew the figures…”
For anyone that’s looked at the reports and presentations on Wiltshire Council’s website, you’ll have noticed three sites identified to the north east of Trowbridge. Sites 4 and 5 are the Preferred Development Sites, but if site 6 became a preferred site (and according to the Site Selection Report for Trowbridge it will go forward to the next stage of assessment), it would bring development around Hag Hill and across the A350 towards Great Hinton and Cold Harbour.
The Parish Council agreed to comment on the Plan, noting that the Review stated Small Villages have no strategic requirement, and that current Core Policy for a Small Village limited development to infill within the existing built area, where it:
- Respects the existing character and form of the settlement
- Does not elongate the village or impose development in sensitive landscape areas
- Does not consolidate any existing sporadic loose knit areas of development
See the Local Plan Review page for the latest updates, including presentations and Q&A responses from all the online consultation events held across Wiltshire in January and early February.
- Slide deck: Rural Communities Live Event Presentation
- Slide deck: Trowbridge Live Event Presentation
- Questions & responses from the Rural event presentation
The Local Plan Review consultation page contains many more detailed reports, as well as HOW TO RESPOND. As the proposals stand, Keevil (along with Semington, Steeple Ashton, Great Hinton, and Bulkington) currently find themselves in the Melksham Community Area and members of the Melksham Area Board when it comes to representation in Wiltshire Council, but have been moved to the Trowbridge Housing Market Area (HMA) for housing development. This is the only community area in Wiltshire split in this way.
As Jonathon said: “Put your marker down. In my opinion I don’t think the consultation on this Plan has been one of Wiltshire Council’s finest moments. I think there has been a lot of detail that people genuinely have not noticed because it has been in very large presentations and not been discussed in detail in public.”
- Full report: Empowering Local Communities
- Full report: Planning for Trowbridge
- Full report: Trowbridge Site Selection
How you can respond…
- Online via the Local Plan Review consultation page;
- By email to: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Post to: Spatial Planning, Economic Development and Planning, Wiltshire Council, County Hall, Trowbridge, BA14 8JQ.
- People with no internet access can contact Spatial Planning Officers on 0300 456 0100 for help with hard copies.