Wiltshire Publications

Issue 491 – Jobs and High Street redevelopment are new county priorities

WESTBURY has been identified as a key target for employment growth, while the town has a need for more services and facilities which have not matched the growth in housing in the town.

Those are amongst the findings in the Wiltshire Council’s Core Strategy Consultation Document which has just been published. The strategy also outlines other ways to improve the long term development of Westbury including redevelopment of the High Street and working with the town’s Vision for Westbury project.
Westbury Area Board is now holding events to allow residents to find out more about the future development of the Westbury area and to comment on the document.
The consultation document has highlighted the following areas:-

Employment growth

The document marks out Westbury as “a significant employment base of strategic value” which should be developed.
The document highlights Westbury’s excellent rail connectivity, with direct links to London, Bristol, Portsmouth and Exeter. Consequently the plan seeks to develop the area in proximity to the railway station to make the most of this asset, a plan that is also intended to help link the town and industrial sites to the north. Stronger links between the railway station, town centre, and employment areas are also encouraged.

Housing developments

In addition, the consultation document recognises that “the recent growth in housing has not as yet been matched by employment growth and there are existing employment allocations that need to be retained and developed to create a better balance in the town.” To this end, while employment is identified as a key target, the consultation suggests housing development will be at a reduced rate compared to the past, with a focus on improving and consolidating the town’s infrastructure and services.

Services and facilities
in the town.

The consultation also recognises that “significant housing development in the past… has not been matched by an appropriate provision of services, facilities and new jobs.” The consultation says that a new secondary school could help deliver improved services, such as sports facilities with additional public access, but notes that “further detailed assessment” into relocation and funding opportunities is required.

The town centre

The consultation acknowledges the current ‘Vision for Westbury’ project suggesting it may offer an opportunity to assist in town centre enhancement.
The consultation identifies “a strong independent retail sector” and recognises the town’s historic buildings. However, it suggests that redeveloping and shaping the High Street precinct would help substantially improve the central area of the town.
The consultation says that “Where possible, key community services and facilities should be retained in the town centre, to assist with the aims of enhancing the central area of the town, in accordance with national planning policy.”
However, the possibility of a campus for council facilities is not mentioned. Wiltshire Council have previously told Westbury residents that they hope to start initial discussions in 2012 on how Westbury’s council run facilities could be delivered via the campus model, with residents raising concerns that facilities could be moved to an edge-of-town or out-of-town location.

Have your say

Residents have already had a chance to view an exhibition of the plans, held at the Paragon Hall on Friday 24th June.
Westbury Area Board is holding events to allow residents to find out more about the future development of the Westbury area.
On Thursday 28th July there will be a special area board meeting solely to address the core strategy, which will be held at the All Saints Parish Hall at 6.30pm. People will be able to have their say on the future development of the Westbury area – take a look at the proposed plans, ask your questions and give your opinions. There will also be an area board open day on Saturday 13th August 10am-2pm in Soisy Gardens where people can meet the area board team, partner organisations and Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott.
The Wiltshire Core Strategy Consultation Document is available on the Wiltshire Council Website, www.wiltshire.gov.uk (search for “Wiltshire Core Strategy consultation document) and you can enter your comments online at http://consult.wiltshire.gov.uk/portal. The consultation closes on the 8th August.
Responses gathered through the consultation will be used to help draft the Wiltshire Core Strategy, a plan which sets out long-term planning and development aims and principles.
The Westbury pages of the consultation are printed in full on page xxxxx