RESIDENTS from all over Trowbridge have hit out at Wiltshire Council after it revealed plans to build hundreds of new homes in the town.

A 100-strong crowd headed to the Cabinet meeting at County Hall on Tuesday to vent their frustrations over proposals to build 700 of the 900 homes planned for north and west Wiltshire in Trowbridge and its nearby villages.

Wiltshire Council’s site allocation plan earmarked three main areas for development, Hilperton Gap, Elmgrove Farm in Drynham Lane, and Southwick Court, but residents claim the proposals are riddled with contradictions, would put huge pressure on the town’s already overstretched schools and GP services, and say it is unfair to put the burden of so much development on so few areas.

Trowbridge Town Councillor Steve Oldrieve said: “Wiltshire Council is in disarray. This report is riddled with errors and contradictions. This is a developer-led project that will help them make a profit, but the people of Trowbridge will suffer.”

Councillors called for Wiltshire Council to reconsider the proposals and listen to people’s concerns but the draft plan was approved.

“This is the most important consultation we have had in 15 years,” said Cabinet Member for Planning and Strategic Asset Management, Cllr Toby Sturgis.

“If the council does not secure and control land supply, it will be open sesame for the developers.

“There is scope for future consultation so we can have a fair, sustainable, viable and deliverable strategy.”

Wiltshire and Melksham Cllr Jon Hubbard said: “Every meeting we go to we are told that if we do not support this the world will end, but changes need to be made.”

North Bradley Parish Council Chairman Roger Evans said: “The Wiltshire Core Strategy was rejected before and it should be rejected again.”

Councillors also questioned why green fields are being built on when there is vacant space in the town centre.

George Bunting, chairman of Hilperton Gap Action Group, said: “What people in Trowbridge want is regeneration of our semi-derelict town centre and more affordable homes. The largest cancer we have in our town, the abandoned Bowyers site, doesn’t even get a mention in 2,500 pages.”

Westbury Cllr Francis Morland said: “This is an unmitigated horror story. Wiltshire Council has completely lost control of the process.”

After the meeting, Cllr Graham Payne added: “Someone said to me that Trowbridge is becoming like a doughnut, there is nothing in the middle. We desperately need leisure facilities to bring people to the town.

“There are also problems over the Bradley Road plans. Wiltshire Council suggested that 55 houses could be built there and no more but a planning application has gone in for 82 houses. Not enough has been done over Margaret Stancomb School, which has been left empty for too long by Wiltshire Council.

“Trowbridge and its surrounding areas could become unrecognisable.”

A 10-week consultation will start on July 14 and there will be public exhibitions between 12pm and 7pm at Chippenham Neeld Hall on July 17, Salisbury Guild Hall on July 19, Devizes Town Hall on July 24 and County Hall Atrium on July 26.