Devizes MP calls for ministers to rule on Coate Bridge homes plan

This Is Wiltshire: Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and Devizes MP Claire Perry today Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and Devizes MP Claire Perry today

Devizes MP Claire Perry has called for the decision on whether developers can build 350 homes on a greenfield site on the outskirts of Devizes to be made by government ministers.

The controversial planning application, next to Coate Bridge off Windsor Drive, by Scottish developers Mactaggart and Mickel was refused permission by Wiltshire Council’s Strategic Committee last September.

An appeal by Mactaggart and Mickel is scheduled to start on April 8 at the Corn Exchange, Devizes, and is expected to last four days.

The plan, which is opposed by Devizes town, Roundway and Bishops Cannings parish councils, was turned down because it is outside the limits of development.

Planning officers at Wiltshire Council recommended that the council no longer defends its reason for refusal at the appeal as the planning inspector overseeing Wiltshire’s Core Strategy has called for 5,000 more homes to be built across the county and Devizes Neighbourhood Plan has not having yet reached an advanced stage.

But councillors on Wiltshire's Strategic Planning Committee disagreed when it met last month.

Mactaggart and Mickel has also resubmitted the planning application for the site.

Mrs Perry met Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, today to press for the appeal to be heard by Ministers.

Ina letter to Mr Pickles she wrote: “Historically, development has been on the outskirts (of Devizes) leading to low density development and traffic problems and just when we have a chance to counter this with sensible, sustainable development we are at risk of being undermined by speculative development proposals like this one.”

Mrs Perry said afterwards: "While I am a strong supporter of building badly needed new homes, the current proposal for hundreds of houses on the Coate Bridge site in Devizes is not sound and is an attempt to drive a bulldozer through the carefully prepared Local Plan for Devizes while it is in the approval stage.

“Normally I think planning decisions should be made locally but in this case there is a clear need for ministers to get involved so that the guidance of the Local Plan can be reaffirmed.

"My meeting with Eric Pickles was a positive one and he has asked his officials to look at the case for the planning appeal to be heard by his ministers."

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