Anger as 180-home Gleeson development at Malmesbury gets go-ahead
MP James Gray has voiced his disappointment at a decision to grant planning permission for 180 homes and a primary school in Malmesbury.
The planning application from Gleeson, to build on land south of Filands, was initially rejected by Wiltshire Council and went to appeal in October.
Permission was granted following an eight-day inquiry which finished last month.
Following news of the decision MP James Gray wrote to Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, to express his dissatisfaction.
He said: “This inspector's report seems to me to drive coach and horses through the Government’s localism agenda and to make the neighbourhood planning exercise entirely pointless.
“The inspector effectively indicates that he has given greater weight to national policies on the need to boost housing than to the government objective to give local people more say about what goes on where they live.”
Wiltshire Council’s core strategy says the Malmesbury community area must deliver at least 1.200 homes between 2006 and 2026.
A steering group of 21 have worked for six months to come up with a draft neighbourhood plan suggesting alternative locations for 330 new houses for the town.
The outcome of the appeal coincides with the unveiling of the first draft of the neighbourhood plan this Saturday.
Coun Simon Killane, who has been working on the neighbourhood plan, said: “They have basically completely and utterly turned their backs on us and it’s a tragedy for all the other neighbourhood plans- if we cannot succeed nobody can succeed.
“Wiltshire Council rejected the application, the neighbourhood planning process said there are better sites and here they are.
“Every single agency has said we’re doing the right thing and yet the Government still said you can go ahead Gleeson - there is nothing local about that.”
But deputy town mayor Martyn Snell said he was not surprised by the outcome as the Government would always have certain housing targets to fulfil.
He said: “I like the neighbourhood plan - I think, yes, people should have more to say about their town, but the Government are going to do whatever they want.
“I think in the long term it will be progress for the town. We’ve got to look at the town as a whole and the younger generation - those people that need homes of the right type.”