New homes plan for Warminster's controversial Boreham Road site
Plans have been submitted by HPH Commercial Property for a low-density development of new homes at Boreham Road, after Warminster Town Council recently withdrew its involvement in a previous proposal.
The land at the junction of Boreham Road and Bishopstrow Road is managed by Bath-based HPH and was until recently being considered as a site for a government-backed Neighbourhood Development Order self-build scheme for between 20 and 30 homes.
This would have seen prospective residents purchase a fully-serviced site on which to build their own homes to their own specification and design within certain parameters established and agreed by the local community.
The NDO project aimed to give local people a deciding say not only on the form the development would take, but also as to whether or not any development should take place at all, through a local referendum.
Although having twice previously supported the process, which had been allocated £20,000 by central government, Warminster Town Council decided in June to withdraw its involvement with the scheme, leading to the collapse of the NDO process.
The decision was criticised by members of the steering group, including Michael Mounde, who said at the time: “It was a complete surprise to us and it doesn’t put the town council in a good light.”
Extensive investigations and surveys have now been carried out on the site by HPH in consultation with the Environment Agency, Natural England and other statutory consultees.
On the back of these studies, the company is now submitting a planning application for housing in a range of sizes, including a number of self-build plots, to Wiltshire Council.
The planning application is for 35 new homes at the Boreham Road site, including 7 self-build plots and up to 9 affordable units.
Lindsay Holdoway, managing director of HPH, said: “Having invested significant time and money exploring self-build and following the disappointing withdrawal of the Town Council from the NDO process, we have been left in a position where it has now been decided to move forward ourselves with an outline application for the development of the site.
“We have ensured that our proposals are informed as much as possible by feedback from the initial NDO community consultation.
“To that end we are proposing a low-density development including self-build plots. It is unfortunate that strong feelings around higher-density developments elsewhere in Warminster muddied the water with respect to the NDO process on our site.
“However we strongly feel that this proposal, with significant affordable housing and self-build, will deliver much needed housing at affordable prices for local people, on land which is not suitable for agricultural or other productive use.”
The proposals include the creation of an ecological zone around all four sides of the site, including protection and enhancement of the riverside corridor. House designs are intended to reflect the local vernacular in terms of scale, architecture and materials.
The Boreham Road NDO process was supported throughout by the National Self Build Association.
Executive Council member and one of the founders of NaSBA Paul Richards, who also sat on the Boreham Road NDO Steering Group, said: “Having been involved in this process for over two years and having helped Wiltshire Council in securing central government funding for the project, I was very disappointed that Warminster Town Council chose to turn their backs on such a democratic approach to planning.
“Having said that, I am pleased to see that HPH Ltd has chosen to continue with the theme of self-build as part of their proposal.
“I attended the NDO consultation at which the majority of local people welcomed self-build, so I am very conscious there is an interest and demand for this approach to housing in Warminster.”
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