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Warminster Town Council: Delivering a brighter, greener future for all

Unanimous opposition to plan for 121 houses in a flood plain

23 February 2022

Warminster Town Councillors have expressed the strongest possible opposition to a planning application by Wainhomes for a total of 131 open market, high density, domestic residential mixed housing on Land North of Grovelands Way.

Opposition was led by Councillor Phil Keeble at a meeting of the Town Council’s Planning Advisory Committee on 21st February.

In June 2018 Outline Planning Permission was granted for a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) encompassing the entire site of Land North of Grovelands Way.  The Outline Planning Permission granted was for: 45 Age Restricted Bungalows, 48 bed Care Home, 46 Extra Care Apartments, 39 affordable Extra Care apartments, a Medical Centre and a pharmacy.

Now what is proposed is a 62-bed care home and 131 houses.

Councillor Phil Keeble told the Committee that they should object to these two applications on grounds that:

•        They are outside of Warminster’s Settlement Boundary

•        They constitute an unacceptable development in a flood plain.

•        The increased traffic generated, both construction and permanent is not sustainable locally on Grovelands Way or on the East/West flow of the wider town

•        The Ecological and archaeological assessments are out of date and the site needs a comprehensive assessment and mitigation proposals provided to prevent Nitrate and Phosphate enrichment 

•        The proposals do not meet any of Wiltshire Councils Exception policies which allow development where it would otherwise not be permitted.

Town Councillors unanimously agreed with Councillor Keeble and voted to object to the planning application.

Speaking after the meeting Councillor Keeble said:

“This is the kind of application that gives developers a bad name.  The reason outline planning permission was granted for this site was that it was argued it should be exception to the normal development rules because it was “meeting the needs of Wiltshire’s vulnerable and older people”.  This no longer applies.” 

“131 houses in open countryside clearly bear no resemblance to the original outline consent for a Continuing Care Retirement Community. Five of the six parts of the original proposals, which were about meeting the needs to the elderly have been dropped and replaced with housing.   It would be wrong for the developer to press ahead with these plans.”

Councillor Keeble also outlined further concerns he has about the application.

He said that raising the entire site by 500 or 600mm (2 feet) out of the flood plain will inevitably increase speed and volume surface water run-off with damaging impacts on other parts of the town. It is estimated that between 2,857 and 3,714 lorry loads of hardcore would be required to raise the ground, which would render life in Grovelands Way intolerable.

A hedgerow to be removed is shown on the 1783 Warminster & Corsley Enclosure Act. If this were a building, it would enjoy the protection of being ‘listed’ and no doubt carry a blue plaque. The hedgerow is an important heritage asset and should be protected.

Councillor Keeble had concerns archaeological remains as this application site is a spring of the River Were it is plausible that prehistoric remains exist and this should be investigated with trial trenches. 

The plan application makes no allowance for any meaningful amenity land provision, nowhere for families to meet together, or for youngsters to kick a ball.

The planning applications can be seen on the Wiltshire Council Website – Applications PL/2021/10321 and PL/2021/11403.

Last modified: 23 February 2022

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