DEVELOPERS should be taken to task for not building new homes as soon as they gain planning permission for them, says a Warminster town councillor.

Cllr Tony Nicklin, the chairman of Warminster Town Council's planning advisory committee and chairman of the town's Neighbour Plan working group, says they are fed up of developers gaining planning approval and then sitting on their applications instead of building the new homes for which they have been given permission.

Speaking during an online webinar as part of Wiltshire's Local Plan Review consultation, Cllr Nicklin asked why Warminster continues to contribute to Wiltshire Council's housing deficit.

"It's down to the housebuilders not building the homes for which they have been given planning permission," Cllr Nicklin said.

"I asked what Wiltshire Council are going to do about it because future planning is a waste of time if past plans have got nowhere."

Cllr Nicklin said that in Warminster Redrow Homes had been given permission for 249 new houses but had only built 55, with 28 still under construction.

Another big national housing developer, Persimmon, has permission for around 1,200 new homes in Warminster but Cllr Nicklin says the company has not built any of them.

He added: "The problem is we keep getting these wonderful plans going ahead but they have not been able to catch up on what was planned ten years ago.

"We now face a Government White Paper which is reviewing the completion of Neighbourhood Plans which have historically have not yet proven successful.

"Because of Wiltshire's failure to register a five-year housing bank any Neighbourhood Plan in Wiltshire that is more than two years old is of no value whatsoever."

The mayor of Malmesbury, Cllr Campbell Ritchie, is leading the Wiltshire Area Localism and Planning Alliance (WALPA) calling on the five Wiltshire MPs to ensure the government immediately reviews the National Planning Policy Framework as they say recently approved developments 'go against democratically agreed Neighbourhood Plans’.

Wiltshire Council's consultation on local plan reviews is due to end on March 9. Feedback will help to shape the draft Local Plan, which will be finalised later this year.

It will then be used to guide decisions on whether future planning applications for housing, infrastructure and land for employment can be granted.

The online engagement sessions are being held instead of face-to-face meetings because of Covid restrictions.

They form part of the latest consultation into the Wiltshire Local Plan review, and offer a chance for people to find out more about the plans in their area, before submitting comments.

Cllr Toby Sturgis, Cabinet Member for Planning, said: “The Wiltshire Local Plan review consultation is the perfect opportunity for people to have their say on sites in Wiltshire that may be considered for development.

“There will be a further opportunity for people to have their say on the draft Local Plan later this year, but it’s really important that people let us know what they think now, as once the Plan is finalised and adopted in 2023, it may be too late to shape where developments may go within Wiltshire.

“I would urge as many people as possible to sign up for their local online event to find out more about the Local Plan review and how to have a say.

"Anyone who can’t make their local online event will be able to view all the relevant documents online and submit their views. Measures will also be in place for those without internet access.”