Public concern over housing development
The Planning Advisory Committee on Monday 18th June was attended by several members of the public who wished to oppose any development on the land on both sides of Dorothy Walk and adjacent to Minster Church and Bath Road. They had presented a letter and petition outlining their opposition based on the issues of flooding in the area and the wildlife habitat. In response to the concerns raised, Councillor Nicklin gave a detailed explanation of Wiltshire Council’s Core Strategy and its potential impact for Warminster. Wiltshire Council has a list of sites that are available for development where the owner or developer has indicated a desire to develop. These sites are Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) sites, and although a site is listed this does not necessarily mean that it will be developed. The land at Church Street is on the list but as yet no plans have been put forward, so the Planning Advisory Committee has nothing to debate. When Wiltshire Council’s Core Strategy is adopted later this year it will include a five-year plan for housing development in Warminster with a register of land available for housing, which will clarify where development is likely to take place.
Councillor Nicklin stressed that Wiltshire Council’s strategic plan indicates the need to build a further 900 homes in Warminster over a 20-year period, which would be a positive in this declining economic climate, bringing more residents and income to the town. Although he agreed that some of the sites listed included wetlands, and he was sympathetic to the issues that had been discussed, he pointed out that any development would be undertaken using professional architects. “These are the people who will have to make the decisions as to which sites are suitable, and there is not a lot we can do at this stage.”
The petition will be forwarded to Wiltshire Council as requested by the residents.