A controversial housing development of 230 houses off the London Road corridor of Devizes was approved by Wiltshire Council planners today.

The council’s strategic planning committee has been recommended to approve The Crown Estate’s planning application for 230 homes on agricultural land next to Lay Wood in Bishops Cannings by its officers.

In a report on the application to the committee, planning officer Jemma Boustead says the policies of the National Planning Policy Framework apply as the draft Devizes Neighbourhood Plan as it is currently out to public consultation.

She said: “These apply a presumption in favour of sustainable development and state that planning permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

"In this case, it is considered that there are no such significant and demonstrable adverse impacts that would outweigh presumption on favour of development.”

Devizes town, Roundway and Bishops Cannings parish councils all objected.

They argued that Devizes experiences significant traffic congestion and air pollution as a result of significant numbers of houses having been built in the town, particularly on the London Road corridor.

Coun Toby Sturgis, Wiltshire cabinet member for spatial planning, said: "I feel very upset about this. I feel it's totally against local democracy."

He said he has been lobbying MPs and Nick Boles, the Planning Minister, about the situation.

The committee was also told today that Wiltshire Council can no longer justify the reasons it refused permission for 350 homes on greenfield land next to Coate bridge, off Windsor Drive, for Mactaggart and Mickel and officers recommended not defending the decision at a public inquiry scheduled for April.

But planners went against the advice, that they could not block the plans as the inspector overseeing Wiltshire Council’s core strategy for development had stated that more homes need to be build in Wiltshire in the next 12 years.

They unanimously voted to defend their decision at the forthcoming inquiry.