Many relevant points were raised and discussed, including those about unprecedented growth to date and the overstretched infrastructure, including the health centre, traffic levels and road safety.
As the road and adjoining land is well known for regularly flooding, residents are urged to come forward to the Residents' Association with details of instances they've experienced.
Figures were also put forward showing the 134 new or unoccupied houses yet to be filled.
The land abuts an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a point which Tristan Cork put forward as a valid reason for residents to oppose the application. In the policy plan, it's stated that views should be protected into and out of the AONB. Also, as a second point of opposition, the area is outside of the structure plan settlement boundary so should not be developed at all.
Queries were raised as to what is meant by sustainable development, which, it transpres encompasses various aspects of a development including (but not limited to) jobs, transport links and how environmentally friendly the buildings will be.
Concerns were raised over how the developer has not dealt with ecological issues such as light pollution, which would have a direct effect on the local bat population. The area was described as a rare habitat and it was suggested that if a proper report were done of this 'jewel in the crown of Malmesbury', then Local Nature Reserve (LNR) status may potentially be awarded. Also, tree preservation orders have been applied for 17 mature trees bordering the site.
After Councillor Bill Blake raised some contentious issues about the elements of the application that he described as possibly making it a 'persuasive development', councillors unanimously agreed to oppose the application on the following grounds:
- It's outside the settlement boundary
- Proximity to flood plain
- Road network would not sustain the development
- Primary school – not adequate to take additional numbers
Everyone at the meeting (councillors, residents and community groups) was unanimous in opposing this development and strongly urged to write individual letters stating their objections to Wiltshire Council.
The deadline for letters and/or online feedback is 26th May and ALL residents who agree that this development is inappropriate are urged to submit their own letters of opposition.
Councillor Goldstone recommended that the words I OBJECT are included in all letters of objection to avoid any misunderstanding.
It is important to include the application reference, N11/01382/OUT and the reasons for your objection such as being outside the planning boundary, lack of school spaces, destruction of environment next to area of outstanding natural beauty etc'.