TROWBRIDGE residents are being invited to have their say on controversial plans for a new housing development on land at Elm Grove Farm.

Coulston Estates Ltd wants to build up to 250 homes, 30 per cent of which would be affordable new homes, plus provide a site for a new two-form primary school on a protected public open space.

Residents will be able to submit views at a public drop-in event on Thursday, January 17 between 4-8pm at Holbrook Primary School hall in Holbrook Lane.

Stuart Jones, of Coulston Estates, said: “We are looking forward to meeting members of the local community at our public drop-in event later this month to discuss the draft plans for the Elm Grove site in more detail.

“Our proposals respond to Wiltshire Council’s draft Site Allocations Plan, which allocates Elm Grove for a primary school and new open market and affordable homes.

“The proposals include an enhanced and enlarged area of public open space which will be properly drained and managed to ensure it is available for use by the entire community on a year-round basis.

“There will also be wildlife corridors, allotments and informal areas of green open space, which along with the enlarged recreation ground will provide a green buffer between the existing community and the new homes.

“We are conscious that new development can often create local concern in respect of traffic generation. In this regard, our draft masterplan has been fully informed by traffic surveys and analysis, which seeks to integrate car, cycle and pedestrian connections to the existing road network.”

Resident Dennis Kidd has already submitted a 348-signature protest petition to Wiltshire Council’s Trowbridge Area Board, in November. He claims the scheme would lead to an increase in traffic and speeding on the Wiltshire Drive distributor road, where he says there have already been 12 accidents.

Trowbridge Town Council also objects to the Queen Elizabeth 2 Elm Grove recreation ground being used for the proposed primary school. It would prefer a new school to be located on the West Ashton side.

Local ward member Cllr Graham Payne said: “I would rather the public open space be used for a larger Larkrise School, which Wiltshire Council is planning to close on its existing site by 2023 and relocate to Rowde,but nobody wanted to know about that.”

The recreation ground, owned and managed by Wiltshire Council for Fields in Trust, was given protected status for the local community to use as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Richard McKeever, of Fields in Trust, said: “As part of this protection, we have a responsibility to ensure owners of green space sites seek our consent to undertake any changes to the ownership or purpose of the protected land.

“Fields in Trust recognise that circumstances change over time and we would always consider a request from a landowner if a community wanted to re-purpose land - for example for housing or a school.

“The land and planning committee of the Fields in Trust, trustee board would make a decision, should any request be forthcoming.

“To date no request has been made. However, we are aware that there are proposals for development of housing and a school in the Elm Grove Farm area.”

A Wiltshire Council spokesperson said: “All planning applications go through a rigorous assessment which looks at the impact the proposed development could have on factors including traffic.

“There is no planning application at this stage, however should one be lodged people will have the opportunity to comment before any decision is made.

“The site itself is proposed in the emerging Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan which is currently at the examination stage and is being considered by an independent inspector.”

Wiltshire Council and Surrey-based Coulston Estates would have to replace the 7.14-acre QE2 land with a similar-sized public open space for local community use.

The Elm Grove Farm site lies south of Wiltshire Drive and the proposed development includes enlarged and enhanced public sports and recreation facilities.

These would replace the under-used and poorly-drained facilities on the existing Elm Grove QE2 Recreation Ground.

The land at Elm Grove Farm is proposed as a mixed-use allocation in Wiltshire Council’s Draft Housing Sites Allocation Plan DMD. A public examination of the plan will take place in Trowbridge between February 11 and March 5.

The primary school proposal is driven by Wiltshire Council, which has identified an acute need in that part of Trowbridge to address school place shortages as well as for planned future developments.

Coulston Estates says a package of improvements to local infrastructure and community facilities would be agreed with Wiltshire Council.

At the drop-in event, residents will have the chance to speak to the Coulston Estates project team, find out more about the plans, and submit feedback.

All of the information on display at the drop-in event will be made available online on the same day and website visitors will have the option to submit feedback electronically.

The website will be updated regularly as the project progresses. The website address is