Warminster families ready to fight houses plan

Wiltshire Times: Nick Parker, centre, and residents’ group members at the site of the proposed 320 houses at Home Farm, near Warminster Nick Parker, centre, and residents’ group members at the site of the proposed 320 houses at Home Farm, near Warminster

Residents of Boreham Road in Warminster have joined forces to fight plans to build 320 homes on the outskirts of the town.

The campaigners claim the proposals would effectively destroy the rural atmosphere of western Warminster and artificially link the town to neighbouring Bishopstrow.

Proposals for the development were unveiled by Hallam Land Management at an exhibition in the Civic Centre last month, but as yet no planning application has been submitted.

More than 100 people gathered at St John’s Church on October 25, to put forward their objections.

Boreham Road resident Nick Parker, chairman of the East Boreham Residents’ Action Group, said it was not the first time the site at Home Farm had been proposed for development.

He said: “The action group was formed about 12 years ago, in response to a different proposal on the same bit of land, but that was rejected.

“Even back then, Wiltshire Council preferred the idea of developing the west side of the town. It just makes a lot more sense.

“This development would have a major impact on the existing infrastructure, particularly the schools, which are already full, and the roads with an extra 500 cars using them. The biggest impact will be the loss of the rural setting in an area of great natural beauty.

“Our campaign is starting to take off. Now we are just looking for experts to help us oppose this proposal.”

Hallam Land Management said the development, in a “highly-sustainable location”, would help meet the need for affordable housing.

It added it was considering public feedback from the exhibition and would amend its scheme, as appropriate.

A spokesman for the development company said: “The site is in a sustainable location, close to St George’s Primary School, Kingdown School, a leisure centre, employment areas, bus routes and local shops.

“The site has been identified as ‘suitable’, ‘available’ and ‘deliverable’ in Wiltshire’s Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment.”

South West Wiltshire MP Andrew Murrison said in a letter to Wiltshire Council he intended “to take a full and active part” in the campaign against the plans.

The council has confirmed the site was considered for development in the Core Strategy, but was rejected.

Cllr Fleur de Rhe-Philipe said: “The council’s preferred strategic development site is along Bath Road on the west of the town.”

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