COUNCILLORS have expressed their surprise that an application to build 250 homes on land near Steeple Ashton, which they supported, was turned down.

Wiltshire Council rejected developer Taylor Wimpey’s proposal to build the homes on land to the south-west of Ashton Road as it would have had a harmful impact on the countryside and it would have negatively impacted the Bath and Bradford on Avon Bats there.

Despite the authority also saying the site was not safe enough and the pedestrian and cycle access there were inadequate, Trowbridge Town Council and Steeple Ashton Parish Council raised no objections to the application.

Cllr Jonathon Seed, who covers the area, said: “I think that in light of the government’s drive to encourage house building, it is a pity that this has been turned down.

“It did get support from parish councils but there are a number of things that need to be overcome for this to be successful.

“If we are to continue to meet government housing building targets, this is one of those applications where I think the developer will revisit this.”

The plans were put forward back in 2016 and covered a total area of 23.1 acres.

Trowbridge Cllr Peter Fuller said: “The council was quite happy with it as we thought it was suitable land to be built on. It seems like housing could fit well there.

“I am a little surprised that it got turned down. It was not in the Wiltshire Core Strategy. I think they may appeal this.”

Steeple Ashton Parish Council did, however, ask for the application, which included open space, landscaping, drainage features and associated infrastructure, to have better access routes.