An online petition to remove Bradford on Avon’s former golf course as a reserve site for development from the draft local plan has amassed over 900 signatures.

Bradford on Avon Town Council launched the petition in an effort to protect the land alongside the River Avon from potential future work.

The local plan is a document that all local authorities must produce to guide their “delivery of sustainable development” and it sets out Wiltshire Council’s vision for growth in the county to 2038.

The local plan draft states: “Reserve sites are proposed at some market towns and will only be released by the local planning authority should for any reason other allocations be delayed, or, the contribution from small sites fail to materialise and they are required to maintain the land supply requirements set by national policy.”

Residents and environmental protestors previously organised a protest in April 2021 to keep the former golf course as a wildlife corridor.

The current petition calls for the deletion of the site from the local plan reserve list.

Chair of the town development committee, Councillor Alison Potter said: “Since the golf course closed several years ago this site has become a rich wildlife habitat for birds, butterflies, bats, otters, beavers and river birds.

“It is important in these times of climate change that this blue-green biodiverse corridor between Bradford on Avon and Trowbridge is retained to be enjoyed and grow as a much-loved open green space for humans and wildlife alike.”

The local plan consultation is open until Wednesday, November 22. 

The local plan draft describes Bradford on Avon 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, which is 2020 to 2038.

According to the plan, the focus will be on the growth of tourism and enhancements of green and blue infrastructure pathways such as the Kennet and Avon Canal.