Here is my personal submission re the planning application for 71 new dwellings at Filands.
Re: 16/07288/OUT Land South of Filands (2nd Phase)
I am writing to register my OBJECTION to this planning application, which should be rejected. The main reasons for this are:
- Filands is not a site in the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan and there is significant opposition to building on this site.
- Extra housing is not required.
- Precedent for future development at Filands, contra to the Neighbourhood Plan.
Principle of Neighbourhood Planning
Whilst I am now objecting to this application in a personal capacity, I am a Town Councillor and represented Malmesbury Town Council on the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Steering Group who drew up our Neighbourhood Plan in response to local residents feedback and other expert guidance.
The Neighbourhood Plan was voted through in a three parish referendum as per the Government’s Localism Act and was the first Wiltshire. 90% of those who voted in the Referendum said YES to the Neighbourhood Plan. This means that Wiltshire Council and others must use this document when considering planning applications. To allow planning permission when an application does not conform to our Neighbourhood Plan (i.e. this site is NOT included) will undermine our Plan and set unwanted local and national precedents. The people of the Malmesbury Area used their democratic right under the Localism Act to define how the place where they live and work should grow. This did not include development on Filands and there was much local opposition at the time. (see Chapter 1 and Policies 1, 2 and 3 therein). Even the applicants current submitted Statement of Community Engagement July 2016 shows that there is still significant opposition to building on this site. If the views of local residents and the principles and policies in our Neighbourhood Plan are ignored - then this will be a fundamental threat to our democracy, Neighbourhood Plans throughout the country and Government.
Our Malmesbury Area housing target for 2026, as laid down by Government and allocated in the Wiltshire Core Strategy , will be met in the next year or so. This will be around 9 years before the target date, so there is no need for extra housing. (See Page 10 of the Neighbourhood Plan for these figures and also Policy 5 Page 24 which states that “Planning applications for new housing, including conversions, should be assessed against the demand net of cumulative consents given in the period, not the gross demand identified at the beginning of the period”.)
Neither do I believe that the hypothesis that more housing is needed in the shorter term because of the Dyson expansion. Projected growth of their workforce was taken into account during the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan. The amount of staff working at Dyson will grow over a number of years and not all at once. A large amount of engineers do not wish to live locally, but in the larger towns nearby. This was evidenced through a travel survey of Dyson staff. So, given these factors plus the large growth in development of other areas close by, such as Tetbury and the potential huge 2000 dwelling development near Kemble in the longer term - I do not see any evidence of a requirement for extra housing in the Malmesbury Area.
Also, I believe that Wiltshire Council has met it’s Five Year Land Supply target, so this should not be a reason to allow this application.
Precedent For Future Development at Filands
I would like to remind you that Gleeson Strategic Land challenged both our Neighbourhood Plan during it’s preparation and also took the Government to court re the 180 dwellings development application which is adjacent to this site. Outline planning permission was finally granted after the Government lost the second of two judicial reviews. You will see from the attachments to this email that there have been plans to build along the whole of Filands (the masterplan is from their brochure). Also an EIA was made for approx 30 acres on this site around 2011 as was explained to our local Wiltshire Councillor by their Managing Director (as attached letter 23rd September 2011). Lastly, in a public interview in our local newspaper, the Wilts and Glos Standard on 18th September 2014 http://www.wiltsglosstandard.co.uk/news/northwilts11482796.Developer_blames_legal_battle_
?ref=rss Mr. Scott Chamberlain, their managing director, was quoted as saying “We still have a significant interest in the rest of the land.”
To allow this application would clearly set a precedent for the applicant to expect planning approval to develop further parts of Filands. This again would be in direct contradiction to the Neighbourhood Plan.