RESIDENTS and councillors in Malmesbury are once again preparing to fight ‘dangerous’ plans to build houses off a road that regularly floods.
Applications from Hannick Homes and Developments to build 26 houses and Stonewater Housing Association and White Lion Land to build 50 houses, both off Park Road, were rejected by Wiltshire Council last year.
Both decisions have been appealed and a final decision will be made following a planning inquiry starting on July 12.
Dozens of residents objected to the plans for houses on the site, with flooding along Park Road among their chief concerns.
“This happens regularly,” said one.
“It is ridiculous that this location is being considered for development.”
Another added: “The existing drainage in place along Park Road is barely sufficient.
“The proposed development would remove vital green field that currently absorbs rainfall and supports natural drainage, putting residents on Park Road at greater risk of flooding.”
In a submission of evidence ahead of the inquiry, Malmesbury mayor Kim Power and fellow town councillor Campbell Ritchie wrote: “The road area floods on a regular basis, through run off water from the sites themselves and from flooding by the nearby river.
“This is viewed to be dangerous both in terms of accidents and waterborne disease.”
Other objections to the development included the fact it is outside the defined settlement boundary for Malmesbury.
Previous applications have been rejected on this basis, but now that Wiltshire Council has failed to maintain a five-year supply of land, the development will only be rejected if the adverse impacts would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.
But Although Wiltshire has got an overall shortage, this is not the case in Malmesbury with the town having delivered 455 dwellings above their requirement.
Wiltshire Council’s submission of evidence stated: ” When read in conjunction with the vision, objectives and the strategy embodied in the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan there is no requirement for further residential development to come forward in the open countryside outside the settlement boundary for Malmesbury.
“Residential development on the appeal sites therefore conflicts with the MNP as a whole, which is consistent with the strategy to concentrate housing growth on allocated sites and at Malmesbury.
“The MNP includes a clear objective to prevent additional growth in the countryside outside the town.
“The proposals involving wholly residential schemes would not improve the self-containment of the town since they would not assist in the delivery of new employment, nor stimulate business creation or attract inward employment investment.”
A statement of case put forward on behalf of White Lion Land said: “The housing supply position puts into sharp focus the need to look at bringing forward sites that are without constraints and suitable for housing development and will contribute towards meeting the pressing need for additional homes.
“The proposal will provide the delivery of much needed housing on land that is available now and would make a meaningful contribution to housing land supply.”
The inquiry is being held at Wiltshire Council’s offices in Chippenham, starting on Tuesday, July 12.