'David and Goliath battle' under way over Malmesbury homes plan
12:52pm Thursday 24th January 2013 in By Anne Moore
An appeal hearing following the refusal of planning permission for 180 houses and a primary school in Malmesbury could be extended past this week.
The application to build on land South of Filand’s has been made by Gleesons. It hopes to build on a 9.7 hectare plot which is part of Whychurch Farm and is currently used to graze cattle.
After the plan was first submitted some residents and councillors raised concerns about over-development and said plans for large developments should only be considered after Malmesbury completes its neighbourhood plan.
Commenting on the application councillor William Blake said Malmesbury Town Council wished to see its neighbourhood plan completed and incorporated in the Wiltshire Council Core Strategy first.
He said: “Malmesbury Town Council recognise that we and our community have to accept more housing and other building development, but we want to be able to identify the parcels of land which in our view are most suitable for this.
“To approve Gleeson’s application would make a mockery of not just the localism bill and the neighbourhood plan approach, but would also put at nought the huge amount of work already undertaken.”
Wiltshire councillor for Malmesbury Simon Killane said: “Why not come along to the appeal hearing. You are entitled to come and observe the proceedings.
“Here is your chance to witness the David and Goliath battle for real localism that will have implications for government planning policy.”
The hearing began on Tuesday and is due to finish tomorrow, but a spokeswoman from the Wiltshire Council planning department said it is likely to be extended.
The planning inspector will come to a final decision two or three weeks later.