THE entire framework for Wiltshire's growth over the next two decades is currently open to consultation for the public across the county.

It will look to set the blueprint for more than 36,000 homes, 160ha of employment land, infrastructure projects and help spark the creation of more than 23,000 jobs for the next 15 years.

Councillor Nick Botterill, cabinet member for strategic planning, said: “Once the plan is adopted, all planning applications will be determined against it, making it the most important place-shaping document for Wiltshire, so please take the time to take part in the consultation and have your say.”

We're entering the last month during which residents can have their say on how their neighbourhood might be affected (see bottom of this article for details), before the consultation period ends on Wednesday, November 22nd. 

This consultation is the final stage before the plan, its accompanying evidence, and all submitted comments are sent to a government planning inspector for independent examination.

But what is the local plan?

The local plan is a document that all local authorities must produce to guide their “delivery of sustainable development.”

It sets out Wiltshire Council’s vision for growth in the county to 2038, providing land and infrastructure to meet development needs and environmental improvements, while also taking into account the impacts of climate change.

The plan divides Wiltshire into four separate housing market areas based around the settlements of Chippenham, Salisbury, Trowbridge and the Wiltshire element of the Swindon housing market area, each with its own area strategy.

The settlements have been attributed different prospects for growth according to their attractiveness to investment and the existing structure of their economies.

Considering the plan period is from 2020, a number of homes have already been built and a proportion of the land needed already has planning permission.

Details of this, including information about the individual neighbourhood plans, can be found on the council website.

The plan provides for 36,740 homes and 160ha of employment land that is designed to, alongside regeneration opportunities, help deliver approximately 21,300 jobs.

The overall scales of housing and employment needs in each of these areas are shown in the following table:

Wiltshire Times: Scales of housing and employment needs in Wiltshire.Scales of housing and employment needs in Wiltshire. (Image: Wiltshire Council)
The plan states: “The distribution of growth within an area, one settlement compared to another, has been arrived at by a consideration of possible alternatives, by discussing local priorities with town and parish councils and wider public consultation.”

Chippenham Housing Market Area

The plan identifies Chippenham as a location with good prospects for investment and housing growth, as well as excellent transport links.

One important component of this growth will be new land for business and new jobs in a proposed extension to the town.

A new link road to connect the A4 and A350 will be required to provide a more resilient local transport network and help with congestion in the town centre, which is expected to get worse.

According to the plan, this southern expansion has additional potential to accommodate further development beyond 2038.

Wiltshire Times: Chippenham policies map.Chippenham policies map. (Image: Wiltshire Council)
“Approximately 347ha is allocated for the development of 2525 dwellings, 15ha employment land, along with a district and local centre, schools and an extended River Avon country park,” the plan reads.

“The allocation will require a new road transport corridor linking the A4, south-east of Abbeyfield School, southwards to link with the A350 via a new river bridge.”

12.4ha of this allocated land is safeguarded for a 10-form entry secondary school, two 2ha sites for two 2-form entry primary schools with two 60-place nurseries, and two 0.3ha sites to accommodate additional 80-place nurseries.

The proposals in the plan aim to strengthen the high street as a commercial hub and provide more leisure opportunities including the night economy.

Emery Gate Shopping Centre, for example, would be refurbished and remodelled.

Monkton Park could also be adapted to allow for more leisure activities on the riverfront.

Bath Road Car Park and Bridge Centre will form an extension to the town centre, providing a mix of retail, commercial, cultural, leisure, evening economy and residential uses and to secure highway improvements.

Proposals for further inward business investment in Chippenham railway station and Cocklebury Road area will be supported.

Wiltshire Times: Concept plan for the land south of Chippenham. Concept plan for the land south of Chippenham. (Image: Wiltshire Council)
At Calne, additional employment land addresses concerns about the growing imbalance between local employment and the population.

However, the plan confirms that further significant growth would not be appropriate for the town.

The planned development is said to provide a balanced approach to housing growth whilst conserving the special market town feel, including its heritage and landscape qualities.

Land off Spitfire Road is allocated for the development of approximately 2.7 ha of employment uses, due to its accessibility to the town centre, existing and new homes, as well as existing business clusters at Porte Marsh Industrial Estate.

In total, approximately 1,230 homes and 5.1 ha of employment land will have been provided in Calne between 2020 and 2038.

The plan states that the constrained nature of Corsham removes scope for land allocations for employment development.

Recent rates of housing growth are also set to be reduced due to environmental constraints.

There are, however, still plans to regenerate and revitalise Corsham town centre, in particular the Martingate Centre.

The 360 homes that will have been provided in Corsham by 2038 will include a new allocation for approximately 105 dwellings on land south of Dicketts Road.

In Devizes, rates of house building and existing land supply for housing, including the recent approval of land at Coate Road for 200 homes, mean there is no need to allocate further greenfield land or include a reserve site for dwellings.

Regeneration of the Wharf area is predicted to boost the town's prosperity and environment with a mix of new uses, that include 100 new homes.

The plan accounts for approximately 980 homes and 9.9ha of employment land in total.

Similarly to Devizes, the existing supply of land for employment development at Malmesbury does not require further allocations.

Development of the town centre will aim to further draw in tourists and protect local heritage.

The level of growth for this market town is intended to meet local housing needs.

“The amount of land needed for new homes has already been provided for at the town through planning permissions including those granted at appeal and the housing allocation planned for through the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan, to the north west of the town,” the plan reads.

The 600 homes that will be provided at Malmesbury over the plan period include 60 dwellings on small sites of less than 10 dwellings.

As one of Wiltshire’s bigger market towns, Melksham is defined by the plan as having an important strategic employment role and being valued for business investment due to its location on the A350.

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“There are concerns over the adequacy of local infrastructure to be able to support future growth with the A350 recognised as particularly constrained at peak times, leading to traffic congestion,” the plan explains.

“A bypass to the east of the town is under consideration to relieve traffic pressure and secure improvements to the A350 strategic corridor.”

Additional employment land is considered necessary to meet demand and housing growth is due to continue rising at a steady pace, with additional allocations in the east.

This land is allocated for approximately 425 dwellings, 5ha of employment uses, a local centre, and a 2ha site for a 2-form entry primary school to include 60 early years places.

The plan will deliver new infrastructure, such as the expansion of the Melksham Oak Academy secondary school.

Meanwhile, land north of the A3102, has been allocated for the development of 285 dwellings and land for a nursery.

Over the plan period, a total of approximately 2,160 homes and 5 ha of employment land will be added to Melksham.

Details on the distribution of housing growth for the Chippenham rural area can be found on page 91 of the local plan document.

Salisbury Housing Market Area 

The plan recognises that opportunities to expand Salisbury are limited and at risk of threatening the city’s settings, particularly those of the Cathedral and the Old Sarum Ancient Monument.

It also acknowledges the need to protect the areas rich in archaeological remains that surround the city.

Therefore, the plan states that Salisbury will not be able to accommodate the scales of growth it had previously seen.

It proposes an area of search that extends north of the city, in which a new community could be formed to accommodate around 1,500 to 2,000 homes with 5ha of employment land.

Regeneration of the city’s central area remains important to meet developmental needs, such as revitalising The Maltings and Central Car Park and introducing an enhanced role for the Salisbury District Hospital.

The development will maximise the economic potential of the city and secure it as a visitor destination but will be restricted to a height that does not exceed 12.2 metres to protect the value of the city roofscape and Cathedral.

The plan accounts for approximately 4,500 homes and 12.3ha of employment land for the future of Salisbury.  

Areas which will see housing developments include the following:

- Approximately 350 dwellings on land north east of Old Sarum;
- Approximately 60 dwellings on land at Netherhampton Road Garden;
- Approximately 100 dwellings on land north of the Beehive Park & Ride;
- Approximately 220 dwellings on land north of Downton Road;
- Approximately 265 dwellings on land south of Harnham;
- Approximately 45 dwellings on land west of Coombe Road, Salisbury;
- Approximately 50 dwellings on land east of Church Road, Laverstock.

Wiltshire Times: Salisbury policies map.Salisbury policies map. (Image: Wiltshire Council)

According to the plan, opportunities for the expansion of Amesbury are limited by the need to protect the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and the archaeological importance of the town’s surrounding area.

Around 530 homes will be provided at Amesbury including remaining homes at the Kings Gate allocation, and 75 dwellings on small sites.

The plan supports employment growth at Boscombe Down Airfield and Porton Down.

Tidworth and Ludgershall are described as heavily influenced by the military presence, and the plan proposes growth to broaden their economic base and role.

Approximately 2080 homes and 10.7ha of employment land will be provided between them.

This includes remaining development at allocations at Drummond Park, Castledown Business Park and Empress Way.

A new allocation is made for around 1220 dwellings and 0.7ha employment land South East of Empress Way.

The land that is allocated for development in Salisbury’s rural area includes 45 dwellings on land to the south west of Bulbridge Estate, Wilton, and 1.5ha of employment use on land at Dead Maid Quarry, Mere.

Details of the distribution of housing growth in these rural areas can be found on page 135 of the local plan document.

Royal Wotton Bassett and Marlborough

Royal Wotton Bassett and Marlborough are the two market towns in the Wiltshire part of the Swindon housing market area.

According to the plan, Malborough’s outward expansion is limited by the need to conserve and enhance the special character of the area of outstanding natural beauty.

Approximately 600 homes and 1.8ha of employment land will be provided at Marlborough.

This will include 50 dwellings on land at Chopping Knife Lane and 30 dwellings and 1.8ha for employment uses on land off Barton Dene. 

Wiltshire Times: Marlborough policies map.Marlborough policies map. (Image: Wiltshire Council)

The Market Town of Royal Wootton Bassett is described as a focus for growth, being “the largest settlement in the area with reasonable employment opportunities and service and facilities.”

​The plan accounts for 1,230 new homes and 6.9ha of employment land, including:
- new allocation for approximately 150 dwellings on land at Marsh Farm;
- new allocation for approximately 415 dwellings, 1.8ha of office development, a local centre, and 2ha of land for a 2-form entry primary school that includes space for a nursery on land at Midge Hall Farm;
- new allocation of approximately 70 dwellings on land West of Maple Drive;
- new allocation of approximately 445 dwellings, a local centre, a convenience store, and 0.4ha of land for nursery provision on land at Woodshaw.

Wiltshire Times:  Royal Wootton Bassett policies map. Royal Wootton Bassett policies map. (Image: Wiltshire Council)
Details of the distribution of housing growth for the Swindon rural area can be found on page 157 of the local plan document.

Trowbridge Housing Market Area

According to the plan, Trowbridge maintains an important strategic role, as an employment, administration and service centre as the County Town of Wiltshire with good transport links.

Development in the town is said to be constrained by environmental factors: “It is adjacent to the green belt to the west, with colonies of bats to the east and south relating to the Bath and Bradford on Avon Bats Special Area of Conservation (SAC).”

The plan states that regeneration of the town centre remains a priority and that development should be focused on supporting existing businesses and using vacant space.

Approximately 4,420 homes and 27.4 ha of employment land will have been provided at Trowbridge by 2038, including:
- homes and employment land on existing allocations: Ashton Park, West Ashton Road, Elm Grove, Land off White Horse Business Park, Elizabeth Way, Church Lane, Upper Studley and Southwick Court;
- new allocation for approximately 600 dwellings on land North-East of Hilperton;
- new allocation for 175 dwellings on Innox Mills.

Wiltshire Times: Trowbridge policies map.Trowbridge policies map. (Image: Wiltshire Council)
Land adjoining Whaddon Lane is allocated for the development of approximately 600 dwellings, 2ha of land for a 2-form entry primary school, a convenience store and 0.3ha of land for an 80-place early years provision.

The plan also says that major development in the north of Trowbridge should make provision for a Country Park, approximately 65 ha in size.

In the city centre, the plan outlines “areas of opportunity”, in which they will support redevelopments and improvements:
- Court Street
- Castle Street
- Town Bridge/Wicker Hill
- Asda and the Shires
- Castle Place and car park
- Riverway Industrial Estate
- East Wing

Bradford on Avon is described as a constrained settlement with limited opportunities to expand, largely due to its position surrounded by a green belt.

The plan expects that a good proportion of the settlement's housing needs will be met through small sites, but states that additional sites may also be identified through the neighbourhood planning process.

Development will aim to provide affordable housing and improve air quality within the town centre, among other targets.

It accounts for approximately 140 homes to have been provided at Bradford on Avon by the end of the plan period.

The town will focus on the growth of tourism and enhancements of green and blue infrastructure pathways such as the Kennet and Avon Canal.

In Warminster, the plan explains that The West Warminster Urban Extension will continue to be the main source of supply for housing and employment needs.

It also says that any additional development cannot be allowed to worsen phosphorus levels, to protect the River Avon Special Area for Conservation.

According to the plan, Warminster benefits from a made neighbourhood plan within which the town centre features heavily.

Regeneration of the town's central car park is one of the main aspirations.

Approximately 1,780 homes and 5.6ha of employment land will have been provided at Warminster before the end of 2038, on existing allocations at West Warminster Urban Extension, Bore Hill Farm and Boreham Road.

The plan considers Westbury as not significantly constrained in environmental terms, with a strong concentration of employment.

Development will seek to improve the air quality of the town, which suffers due to congestion from the A350 running through its centre.

It will also support the regeneration of the town centre and address traffic issues.

It will deliver approximately 1,400 homes and 16.7ha of employment land, including:
- retaining employment land on existing allocations on Land at Mill Lane, Hawkeridge and North Acre Industrial Estate
- new allocation of approximately 220 dwellings on Land West of Mane Way
- new allocation of approximately 260 dwellings on Land at Bratton Road

The plan also says: “Major development in Westbury should make provision for a Country Park, approximately 27 ha in size, functioning as Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace.”

The details of the distribution of housing growth for the Trowbridge rural area can be found on page 191 of the local plan.

Give the council your opinion

The recommended way to send the council feedback on the local plan is through their online consultation portal. 

Comments can also be submitted by email or post, instructions for which can be found on the council website. 

Documents with the full details of the local plan and how it will affect your neighbourhood can be downloaded from the website as well. 

The council is welcoming feedback until Wednesday, November 22nd.