MP Claire Perry and Devizes leaders met with the planning minister, Nick Boles, in Westminster last week to discuss concerns about the proposal to build 300-plus homes on land near Coate Road, Devizes, which has met with considerable local resistance.

The Wiltshire Core Strategy is based on a series of Neighbourhood Plans for each area and includes proposed sites for housing development until 2026 across the county.

While areas towards the south of the Devizes Constituency have been identified as places where large scale housing development is needed, Devizes itself has not.

This is due to a range of factors including; pressure on local infrastructure such as transport, air pollution and the fact that significant large scale development has already taken place in Devizes over the last few years.

The Core Strategy is at the final stages of approval and the public examination will commence on May 7.

Mrs Perry and local leaders have been concerned that while the Core Strategy is still being approved that it might be possible for a developer to succeed with a planning appeal.

Mr Boles commented on the comprehensive process that local groups and Wiltshire Council have adopted in the compilation of the Core Strategy. He said that an appeal was unlikely to succeed if the council was able to demonstrate that it was making rapid progress with the plan and embracing its responsibilities.

Councils also need to show that there is an immediately developable supply of sites to meet the housing target for the first five years of the plan.

Mrs Perry said: “I have been worried that if a planning appeal by developers for the Coate Road site was successful that all the hard work that local groups and Wiltshire Council have put into developing comprehensive local plans might be wasted. And Localism, (which I strongly support) would therefore be an empty gesture.

"I arranged for key representatives from Devizes to meet with Nick Boles, the planning minister, in Westminster last week and I was pleased to hear that the Wiltshire plan is in good shape.