MEMBERS of Heytesbury, Imber and Knook Parish Council have agreed to write to the Sassoon Trust asking them to help solve the villages housing needs.

The move follows a parish poll last October which gave the parish council a mandate to hold talks with the Sassoon Trust about developing land for a new village hall in Heytesbury.

The councillors are also trustees of the Raymond Trust, set up following the demolition of the old village hall. They say they want to work pro-actively and constructively with the Sassoon Trust to deliver a new village hall.

If it goes ahead, the deal would also include the Sassoon Trust gifting 12 acres of parkland north of Park Street in Heytesbury to the village in perpetuity, including the cricket and football pitches.

This would be made possible by allowing the Sassoon Trust to build an enabling development of 23 new homes to the south of Park Street.

Heytesbury parish clerk Heather Parks said the letter to the Sassoon Trust was approved by councillors at a meeting on Tuesday evening (January 21), with some discussion about tone, and changes were made.

The letter invites the Trustees to engage with the Parish Council / Raymond Trust in order for them to work together on the issue, which has divided the village.

The council is trying to establish a way forward which will give benefit to the parish and hopes to hear from the Sassoon trustees in the near future.

The results of a parish referendum last October on whether to provide a new village hall showed 128-113 in favour in Heytesbury and 11-2 for it in Knook. The turn-out was 40.9 per cent and 18.3 per cent respectively.

The council has told the Sassoon trustees there was a majority in favour, while acknowledging there was not huge support from the parish for a new hall.

The parish council will now write to the Sassoon trustees inviting them to engage with the council.

They want to find out the Trust's intentions for the development of the land and any future planning proposals they may have.

The parish council last year completed a housing needs survey which showed that some Heytesbury and Knook residents want more rented and shared ownership homes to meet local needs.

They say more social housing should be built to meet demand from people who are unable to afford to buy affordable homes on the open market.