LAND to build 17,000 houses in Wiltshire still needs to be found by 2036.

Consultation will take place next year over Wiltshire’s Local Plan, which sets out future development in the county, the council’s cabinet agreed on Tuesday.

Wiltshire Council will ask for the views of residents to shape the draft plan on where housing and infrastructure should be developed.

Under the government’s method, Wiltshire must build 40,840 to 45,600 homes between 2016 and 2036. According to the cabinet report, the larger number is based on long-term migration trends and housing needed to reduce the levels of workers commuting into the county.

Cllr Toby Sturgis, cabinet member for spatial planning and development management, said growth levels were set by the government and the national planning policy framework.

“With the number of homes that have been permitted or allocated the number of homes still needed is around 17,000 up to 2036,” he said.

“This review is absolutely critical for the Wiltshire authority which has to maintain the five-year land supply.”

Cllr Sarah Gibson said this should be an exciting process as it sets out the council’s vision for a future Wiltshire, adding that this needs to be communicated in the consultation process.

According to the report to Tuesday’s meeting, the Local Plan sets out Chippenham, Trowbridge and Salisbury as the main sites which will take over a third of the planned growth.

Rural areas of the county were expected to take 6,700 new houses, or around 15 per cent of the original total housing need figure.

Although new government White Papers on planing are in the pipeline, Cllr Sturgis said the advice from the government’s chief planning officer was that planning authorities should continue with local plans.

Leader of the council Cllr Philip Whitehead said he could imagine some parishes becoming very frightened by the plans. Giving his parish of Urchfont as an example, he said they had been told to add 65 houses over the period, adding that 60 of these were already built or planned.

Cllr Whitehead urged councillors when talking to their parishes that all of the sites marked for development might not see it.

He said: “This consultation strengthens our defence of the five-year land supply going forward. And to better manage attempts by any developer for putting planning anywhere we do not believe it should go.”

The draft Local Plan is due for consultation next year.