Monday, 07 February 2011 13:48

Malmesbury Residents' Association press for transparency over White Lion Land development Featured

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Malmesbury Residents Association

The Malmesbury Residents' Association have recently learnt that White Lion Land intend to submit a planning application at the end of February for new housing on the fields between White Lion Park , Park Lane and Park Road (the road leading to Buildbase, Brokenborough etc.).

The number of houses is unknown, but the 2009 proposals included Phase 1 of 70 houses, with a similar area available for later phases of building hence possibly another 70 houses.

White Lion Land, through their planning consultants Blue Sky, held a public presentation in the Town Hall on 25th June 2010. The company now claim to have accommodated local community feedback received during the public exhibition in their new proposals.

The Residents' Association believe that White Lion Land will meet with Councillors from the TC Planning Committee on their own this Wednesday 9th February.

Town Councillors on the Planning Committee have also recently passed a motion to initiate contact with other Developers such as Gleeson and Persimmon to discuss options for future developments in the town.

The strength of local feeling over new housing developments was clearly shown at the Town Council meeting held on 14th September 2010. As a result of this meeting and the strength of opinion against inappropriate development in the town, the Mayor Patrick Goldstone, established the Malmesbury Development Forum (MDF) which included representatives from the Town Council and numerous local community groups such as the Residents Association. The purpose of the Forum was to represent local community opinions and hence guide future development. The Forum has not been made aware of the imminent nature of a planning application by White Lion Land.

The Coalition government is currently making changes to the national planning regime to introduce Localism, giving communities the right to influence local development. This will be  introduced as law later in the year, but their intention for change to the present top-down process is clear and thus local communities can anticipate a far greater input into the number, type and location of future development in their town. It will of course be vital that essential amenity and service infrastructure is adequate to accommodate any new development. To that end we believe all future significant development must be held back until a thorough and wide-ranging local neighbourhood plan has been drawn up as advocated under the new Localism agenda. The MDF is well placed to develop this necessary local planning.

Wiltshire Council is currently working on recommendations for the amount of new housing in the County in the period of the Local Development Framework 2006 to 2026 and we would expect the multi-organisational MDF to work with Wiltshire Council and the local community in an open and transparent manner to develop our Neighbourhood Plan.

Malmesbury Residents' Association Committee have asked that if you are unhappy that certain Councillors on the Planning Committee appear to be intent upon regressing to the closed and secretive dialogue methods of yesteryear then please write/email and let the Association know that this type of approach is no longer acceptable to you and you wish to ensure that the views expressed by the public who attended the 14th September meeting last year are not overridden and that open and transparent dialogue is your favoured approach; please also copy your response to our Unitary Councillor Simon Killane at Hopefully with sufficient support we can get the Planning Committee to embrace the new way of working.

Article written by Malmesbury Residents' Association Committee

7th February 2011

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