Some while ago in the parish of Purton (in Wiltshire) a planning application was received by the planning authority for 200 new homes. At the time, the contiguous parishes and relevant planning authorities felt that the site in question was not the appropriate place for housing and was not supported in the most recent draft housing strategies. The relevant planning authority refused the application and, as is usually the case when significant profits are at risk, the developer went to appeal. This means that a government-approved planning inspector would sit (a bit like a judge) and hear competing evidence and then make a decision. The decision that the planning inspector made was to approve most of the site for development but expressly said that Bradley’s Meadow should be left alone as it was a site having Nature Conservation Importance. The developer went away, built the houses, and then returned to say that the Inspector was wrong and that Bradley’s Meadow was not particularly interesting and should be built upon...
The community area as a whole seems to be having a big problem with dog fouling. The issue was taken to the Area Board in May 2012 and a task group was agreed to be set up to look at ways of dealing with the problem. After 18 months (!) the Area Board now wants your views. There is still a week to respond...
In a word, uninspired. Of course, the site is outside the settlement boundary (which constrains housing development in the countryside around the village itself). You may remember that there was an exhibition some weeks ago. Afterwards, about 40 wrote down comments to which Persimmons Homes has now issued its response and a planning application....
The much-awaited draft of the parish plan is now available. To review it click on Purton_Parish_Plan_for_comment. Comments are sought on this draft from all parishioners so please do let your views be known. There are just three questions to complete go here. There will be a further chance to comment and to discuss this draft at the exhibition on Saturday, 19 October between 10 am and 3 pm in the Village Hall. This exhibition also provides an opportunity to learn more about the neighbourhood plan and how the parish plan […]
The parish plan for Purton will shortly be available for comment. A public exhibition has been arranged for Saturday, 19 October in Purton Village Hall starting at 10 am and running until 3 pm. This will be a good opportunity to find out about the parish plan, comment on it and see how it will feed into the neighbourhood plan. Various people will be on hand to discuss and receive comments. Do try to get along for a few minutes.
...this appeal decision has sparked concerns that more developers will target nearby land and try to submit planning applications before the ink is dry on the Swindon Core Strategy (which steers where future housing should go). This is a similar tactic to the one we are experiencing in Purton with Widham Farm. I also hear that Persimmon Homes, following their exhibition in the village hall in August, has now submitted its application for Restrop Road, also outside the settlement boundary ~ more on this in due course.
Although not to be legally confirmed until the end of October pending any further representations, Wiltshire Council is minded to divert part of Footpath 71. Originally, the contentious element was for the diverted footpath to exit about 10 or 15 m before the first bend leading into The Fox (just before No 1, The Fox). This would have been quite dangerous and several representations including mine were made about this.
the Environment Agency is maintaining its objection because of the poor drainage strategy, and Network Rail also continues to object. This is all against a backdrop of concerns about the width of the Spine Road and allocated parking spaces (see the SRA web site for further detail) which Wiltshire Council officers have still to answer satisfactorily. Since the two current applications were not “called in” so that they could be decided by councillors, they are now being decided by Wiltshire Council officers. This is fine for small applications such as household ones ~ not easy to get those wrong. But I would have thought that all big contentious applications with far-reaching consequences should automatically be brought before our elected councillors for scrutiny. This certainly seems to be the case for Ridgeway Farm which is now just a mess.
The first couple of days were given over to the appellant (Mr Cornell and Wainhomes South West) cross-examining the Wiltshire Council planning officers. The third day, at Cricklade was for Wiltshire Council to cross-examine the appellant's witnesses and for third parties to make representations. Myself and Unitary Councillor Jacqui Lay made representations and then stayed on to question the appellant's witnesses, the parish council appeared briefly to make a statement then left, and the Parish Plan stayed for most of the day. A couple of other third parties (local residents) were in attendance and spoke mainly on the issue of flooding. As always, it is difficult to read how it all went, though we did the best we could. One point that emerged is that