Article by Marc Brown
We have until 5pm Monday to comment on the Wiltshire Council Core Strategy.
If we want to make the case for no large scale developments in Malmesbury, or the surrounding area, which will put further strain on our infrastructure then this weekend is the time to act. Let’s make our voice heard.
There are many sections to read in the documentation, but remember; more houses means a bigger strain on infrastructure and the more likely that further developments will be required to pay for it.
The key is the extension or new Primary School. WC must be working on how to solve this, or already have and as soon as the Core Strategy is approved. WC has already stated that any new primary school would have to be paid for by Development.
WC Deputy Leader has already stated that any Housing would not take place until the middle to end of the this strategy period yet at the Consultation Exhibition this was stated as being from the beginning of the cycle meaning that Housing could be developed as early as 2016. By then we would be into another 5 year planning cycle which may add to these figures on Filands which means 800 houses would have been built by the end of 2026. Which makes resolving where to put the new primary school also a key activity.
So, where to put a new school? On the grounds of the Primary School, the secondary school or somewhere else? What about other council owned land? Where in or around Malmesbury could a new 7 classroom school be built? 7 classes of 30 means 210 pupils giving rise to significantly more houses to provide this number. This would then add 30 to each year of the secondary school giving rise to 150 extra places, plus an increase in the Sixth form. WC have already stated that there is room to grow the secondary school. This could be supported by filling the Village schools which need pupils and place housing where it is needed.
How to fund this development? Housing would potentially release money but this could come from ANY development in Wiltshire where, the previously described '106' money is NOT earmarked for the local community. So this could mean that any developments in Wiltshire where the 106 money is controlled by WC could release funds to build the school in Malmesbury. This would not be money from WC but from other developments in Wiltshire.
Other ways of locally reinforcing housing is to build a supermarket/retail, as mentioned in the Core Strategy, to the South of Malmesbury which would likely be in St Paul Without! This would support more housing and release more money to support a new school. The new school would now have plenty of places to fill supporting more house etc. etc. This would not support the schools in the villages which already have places. We still have over 100 properties in Malmesbury to occupy already. Which is another statement from both WC and MTC that pupils having to go from Malmesbury to the Village schools is not welcome and has to be addressed. This was caused by the over development of Malmesbury through WC strategy and the lack of opposition from Malmesbury. We must not repeat this lethargy today.
In the original LDF document it says that ‘as Malmesbury has more jobs per head of population in the whole of North Wiltshire it can sustain more housing.” Many points in the Core Strategy are self serving and I would ask you to get as many residents to respond and reject the Core Strategy imposition of nearly 300 houses in Malmesbury. But what about the 700 in the villages? Where will these go? Milbourne, Swindon Road, Corston, Foxley Road, Brokenborough?
These 700 would be on top of the Malmesbury figure putting more pressure on Malmesbury’s infrastructure. An infrastructure which has only seen two developments in the last 14 years that I can remember; Speed Bumps and draining improvements to cater for Filands.
The amount of work places provided in the Core Strategy hasn’t changed and I remember the same location being used 10 years ago. Whilst we have lost Lucent and many other smaller businesses, many to housing, there hasn’t been any further provision in Malmesbury itself. The Core Strategy doesn’t give any indication of what type of industrial units or the nature of the work, except this isn’t the same as retail employment. Would the level of employment land support the potential addition of 1,100 houses in and around the area? No. This reinforces the use of the car to go to work rather than work locally. The reverse of same principle that was applied by WC to raise Car Parking charges to STOP competition for shoppers between the villages. So we need the work places and not the houses.
It's over to you!
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