Wiltshire Council has extended the consultation on its Core Strategy document, which sets out policies to manage development in the county until 2026.

The council was told to extend the consultation, which will now run until November 1, after submitting a draft to a planning inspector.

It means people will have more time to have a say on issues such as wind turbines.

The inspector requested the council undertake further consultation on: schedules of proposed changes; an updated sustainability appraisal, and the overall soundness of the submitted plan against two national planning policies finalised after the draft was completed.

The decision to reconsult has been welcomed by environmental activists who criticised the council for passing a last-minute amendment to the document introducing ‘minimum separation distances’ between wind turbines and homes.

The new rules specified a minimum distance of 1.5km from homes for turbines higher than 50m, 2km for those over 100m, and 3km for 150m turbines.

Wiltshire councillor for Chippenham, Chris Caswill, said: “It’s good news that Wiltshire Council is now consulting the public about this policy amendment.

“There is already an established, independent, evidence-based process for handling windfarm planning applications, but these proposals replace it with fiction and prejudice.”

Cllr Jon Hubbard, leader of the LibDems on Wiltshire Council, said: “Last-minute backbench amendments and a consultation that officers did not consider adequate are now putting the Core Strategy at risk, increasing the risk of speculative development, and costing the taxpayer more money.”

Fleur de Rhe-Philipe, cabinet member for economic development and strategic planning, said: “The Core Strategy is a vital document which will shape communities and ensure they grow in an appropriate and managed way. As this is an evolving document drafted over a number of years, we have had to update it to reflect various changes.

“We welcome people’s views on the matters raised through this consultation.”

All the consultation documents can be seen and commented on at www.wilt shire.gov.uk or at Wiltshire Council libraries.