Wiltshire Publications

Campaigners say ‘No’ to housing plan

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A BID to build 67 homes at Sandhole Lane, Westbury Leigh, is an “attack on green land”, a newly formed protest group says.

And at a meeting of Westbury town councillors on Monday night, they agreed unanimously to vote against the development in the strongest terms, saying the plans should be resisted “very strongly.”

The “Say No To Sand Hole Lane Development” collective has been started on Facebook by local resident Ben Gordon, who says Gleeson Strategic Land’s application  will not benefit the community of Leighton Park and Westbury Leigh, or the town of Westbury. 

“Westbury is seeing an increasingly aggressive attack on its surrounding green land by housing  developers,” Ben told White Horse News.  

“I believe I speak for the majority of the residents when I say Westbury doesn’t need more housing. What it needs is more infrastructure and more investment in the town itself, the roads are over congested and the town centre is extremely run down.”

The plan is “an attack on the green land south of the town where, as in the past, the north and east sides have been under attack,” Ben said. 

“Looking through the plan, the assessments submitted to Wiltshire Council have not been carried out thoroughly, blaming the pandemic – this is not acceptable that these houses could be approved based on poor assessments made in the year of a pandemic, but will be part of the town for decades. 

“This attack on the surrounding green land affects each and every one of us in the town, not just the local residents of Leighton Park and Westbury Leigh, and we must unite to show Wiltshire Council that more and more houses is not the answer to Westbury.”

People fully understand houses need to be built, Ben says,  but there is a right and wrong place to do this.  

“There is not adequate infrastructure in the town, an overwhelmed doctors’ surgery and cuts to public services, massive cuts to council budgets which means none of this is likely to change in the short to midterm. 

“Residents don’t move into a small rural town for it to be turned into effectively a large urban town.”

Ben has started the “Say No To Sand Hole Lane Housing Development group” – which so far has 180 Facebook members – to object to the proposal, with the hope that it can evolve into a larger group for the whole town, to help minimise future development plans placed on Westbury and its surrounding areas.

The group lists a number of reasons for its opposition, including the impact on green land and protected wildlife,  the use of an existing housing estate as access, and insufficient road infrastructure to support the proposed development. 

Ben concludes, “This is a typical example of housing developers trying to build as many houses for as little cost as possible, while not developing the correct infrastructure to support the development i.e. a suitable site access.”

The outline plan recently submitted to Wiltshire Council for the 5.20ha site includes associated access and highways works, drainage and attenuation, open space, play area, allotments and landscaping.

For more information go to www.facebook.com/groups/457086785301328/

Public consultation on the proposal via Wiltshire Council’s website (application number 20/11515/out) ends on Friday 26th February, and there is a target decision date of Tuesday 23rd March.

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