CONTROVERSIAL plans to build nearly 200 houses in the Hilperton gap have been green lit by the council.

Councillors sitting on the strategic planning committee this week approved plans by Barratt Homes to build 187 houses on land at Elizabeth Way in the parish.

Planning officers recommended that the plans be approved.

Wiltshire Times: Masterplan for all sites at land west of Elizabeth WayMasterplan for all sites at land west of Elizabeth Way

Trowbridge Town Council lodged its objections to the plans last December due in part to the density of the development.

The case officer for the bid said that the site would go towards helping the council’s lack of a demonstrable five-year housing land supply.

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Elected representative for the area, Cllr Ernie Clark noted that a planning inspector said that 355 houses could be built across the site, however, council officers determined that 423 could fill the land.

This was a seriously contentious matter for residents and the councillors due to the density of the proposed development.

The committee heard that at the time when the site was allocated for development the neighbourhood plan had already been made.

This meant there was no opportunity to protect the land or restrict development planned for the site.

Mike Townley, a resident of Albert Road which backs onto the proposed development said he was not opposed to the site being built on.

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However, he did say that the detail regarding carbon capture, car movements and EV chargers was light on the ground.

A representative for the developer said it was contributing to improving local infrastructure as well as around £830,000 in S106 funds.

Speaking on behalf of Trowbridge Town Council, Cllr Edward Kirk said that the lack of a provided master plan was unacceptable.

Cllr Kirk pointed out that there was twice the number of houses going into the development as was on Albert Road -- showing a stark difference in site density.

“I think it lacks the detail for necessary consideration,” he said. “We’re not only ignoring residents and local councillors but we’re ignoring the planning inspector.”

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Cllr Clark said there was no discussion with the town or parish council over the plans and said there was no consideration by the developer to the site they plan to build on.

He then put forward a motion to defer the decision which was seconded by Cllr Adrian Foster. This motion was voted down by the committee.

Cllr Trotman then motioned to approve the plans with the conditions put in place by planning officers.

The vote to approve the application was passed by the majority of councillors.