WILTSHIRE Council wants people’s views on its plans for the future of housebuilding in the county and last month held exhibitions in Trowbridge, Devizes, Chippenham and Salisbury to show where new homes could be built over the next nine years.

A new 184-page strategy shows that more than 19,000 new homes still need to be built in Wiltshire by 2026 – 11,867 of those in the north and west of the county – and the council is asking for residents’ feedback on its plans for where to put them.

The consultation on the Draft Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan is running until Friday, September 22, and people are encouraged to have their say online, by email or by post.

More than 700 people went to exhibitions last month at County Hall in Trowbridge, Neeld Community & Art Centre in Chippenham, Devizes Town Hall and Salisbury Guildhall.

Toby Sturgis, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for planning said: “Housing growth is a government priority and all local authorities have to prepare plans to identify sites for development. These are draft proposals on how we can ensure sufficient homes for Wiltshire communities into the future.”

One woman from Southwick who visited the exhibition, but did not want to be named, said: “I think it’s good that the council has these events and the consultation to involve people, but I do worry about how strong Wiltshire Council’s influence is.

“It seems to be caught between the Government saying it needs to accept more houses and huge developers who want to get their own way.”

Jane Eaton, also a Southwick resident, added: “Our village is sandwiched between planning applications at the moment so residents are especially aware of what’s going on.

“This was a good way of engaging people but there have been times when the council and developers haven’t been as transparent about applications. Both have a habit of doing things during school holidays when people are busy or away.”

The council says that while preparing the plan it spoke to education and health providers to understand what facilities will be required in the future.

After the consultation ends in September, the council will consider people’s views before the plan is examined by an inspector from the Secretary of State. The inspector will then decide whether the plan can be adopted.

To read the plan and have your say go to http://consult.wiltshire.gov.uk/portal and select ‘Draft Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan’.