CONCERNS have been raised once more over plans to build up to 76 houses in Malmesbury after images were taken showing the site clearly underwater.
Heavy rain left parts of Malmesbury flooded over Christmas, with residents narrowly avoiding a repeat of the devastation that hit the town in 2012.
Park Road was one of the areas heavily affected by the floods over the past week.
Two planning applications have been submitted to Wiltshire Council to build 76 houses on two sites off Park Road on separate fields.
Members of the planning committee of Malmesbury Town Council have previously voted to recommend rejecting developer White Lion Land LLP and Stonewater Housing Association’s application, as well as the Hannick Homes application.
The town council cited flooding concerns in both letters to Wiltshire Council: “Park Road lies in a mix of high and medium flooding risk regions according to Environment Agency maps.
“There is also considerable local experience of the flooding of Park Road which has been highlighted by residents. Therefore the proposed access to the site is unacceptable.”
Previous applications on Park Road have been refused due to the area falling outside of the settlement boundary in the Malmesbury Area Neighbourhood Plan.
However, as Wiltshire Council has failed to maintain a five-year supply of land, concerns are growing that the plans will be permitted, against the neighbourhood plan and despite fears over flooding.
Malmesbury mayor Campbell Ritchie said: “The latest flooding at Park Road shows again why housing development along this road is unsuitable.
“However, it is very unlikely there would be any planning applications at all for these sites if Wiltshire Council was able to show it has a five land supply of land for house building across the whole county.
“It was terrible news for Malmesbury when it revealed it had come up short last year. Even worse, Wiltshire Council has just confirmed it has fallen short again for another year.
“This means our democratically approved Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan, which is delivering all the houses requested in Wiltshire’s county wide plans up to 2026 and beyond, can be side-stepped.
Malmesbury Town Council is working directly with over 30 other town and parish councils in Wiltshire to persuade Wiltshire Council to take meaningful steps to get us out of the planning mess it has created.
“I would encourage all residents to get involved with the consultation on the delayed update to the Wiltshire Local Plan, which is starting in January, and to make their views known on each of the current housing applications in Malmesbury which are over and above those in our Neighbourhood Plan.”
Malmesbury town councillor Kim Power said: “I am shocked that there is even the possibility that these two applications might be given permission.
“The floods only a few days ago clearly illustrate why houses should not be built here.”
The Standard contacted the developers for comment.