Wiltshire Publications

Controversial plans for 145 houses given green light despite years of opposition

OPPONENTS of plans to build 145 houses on land at Glenmore Farm near The Ham, Westbury, have lost their long battle against the development, as Wiltshire Council agreed planning permission last week. Over the past eight years, Heywood Parish Council and Westbury Town Council have objected to plans to build on the site and local residents formed a protest group to stop the plans. 

The proposed site, which covers approximately 7.8 hectares, is bounded to the north by the West Wilts Trading Estate, Hawkeridge Road to the east, The Ham to the south east and existing residential development and fields to the south west.  

Developers, Westbury Land Value Alliances (LVA) LLP, have been trying to secure planning permission for the site since 2015. The re-submitted plans were again objected to by Heywood Parish Council on the grounds that the proposed site is not in a recognised settlement and that there is a lack of sustainable access at the site. The parish council said the plans would result in a high degree of reliance on the use of private vehicles due to its distance to essential services in Westbury. 

While this site falls outside the boundary of Westbury, the plans were previously described as a “massive housing estate” by Westbury councillors who said it would “impinge on the town as whoever lives there will use the services of Westbury.” They also objected on the grounds of drainage, safety of access and said it was the last green space between the industrial estate and The Ham. 


The plans were “called in” to be considered by Wiltshire Council’s Strategic Planning Board following a request by Wiltshire councillor for the area, cllr Suzanne Wickham. She raised concerns relating to the scale of the development and highways impact, given that primary access would be from The Ham. 

Ex-Westbury town councillor David Jenkins who has lived on The Ham for nearly 50 years, attended the meeting to also raise concerns over the safety of the proposed access. He said, “The photographs [shown in this meeting] do not give the perspective of just how close the access is to the bend in the road on the corner.”   

Accident hotspot

He described the area as a potential accident hotspot saying, “There have been accidents, so we know there is a danger there.” He added that there would be safety issues with pedestrians trying to cross the road from the development as there isn’t enough distance on the road for pedestrians to see oncoming traffic coming around the bend.  

“The people who will be using this would be in danger… there is insufficient visibility here,” he added. 

Heywood Parish Council chairman, cllr John Masson, said at the meeting, “The proposed development would be poorly served by local services, facilities and amenities. There is a lack of sustainable access and there will be a high degree of reliance on private vehicles. It is a 30-minute walk to the nearest supermarket in Westbury, a 40-minute walk to the White Horse Health Centre and a 25-minute walk to the nearest school.  

“On a cold winter’s day in January when it’s six degrees and pouring with rain, nobody is going to walk into Westbury or take a bus and then carry bags of shopping home.”  

Cllr Francis Morland described the plans as “a deeply flawed scheme”. 

Speaking about the decision to approve the plans, cllr Suzanne Wickham said, “I am extremely sorry for the residents of The Ham, many of whom had objected to this application at Glenmore Farm.  

“The main reason that this application was approved by the Strategic Planning Committee is because Wiltshire Council cannot demonstrate a five-year housing land supply, and the effect of this is that the core strategies relating to building outside of the settlement boundary are not then able to be taken into account.” 

Speaking at the meeting Wiltshire Council planning officer, Gen Collins refuted concerns over highways safety implications from the development saying, “Our senior highways engineer has reviewed the application and had several detailed discussions with the applicant and it is considered that the access is correct for this level of development, it doesn’t need a right turning lane and the speed limit of 30mph is to be extended around the bend.  

“The accident data raises no cause for concern in this location. The road will be widened on the bend and the footway extended. Bus facilities will also be improved through an agreed contribution of £150,000 to improve the evening bus services. I’d like to remind members that in paragraph one of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that development should only be prevented or refused on highway grounds if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety or the residual culminative impacts on the road network would be severe – neither is applicable in this case and there are no solid grounds for refusal on highways safety. 

“I sympathise that [councillors] don’t want to be directed by the five-year housing land supply, or the lack of it, but ultimately the NPPF is what we have to follow in these situations and it is clear that there are no adverse impacts that significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of this scheme and it would be extremely difficult to defend [a refusal] at an appeal.” 

LVA’s representative at the meeting said, “Aside from delivering much-needed market housing that responds to the needs of Westbury, it also provides 58 affordable homes with a 60/40 ten-year split resulting in 35 affordable rent and 23 homes for shared ownership.  

“The applicant is aware of third-party concerns relating to the access however, the application has gone through a rigorous approval process including traffic and speed surveys and a stage two road safety audit of the access as it is and proposed, which already includes an informal crossing point within the 50mph speed limit. Through the extension of the 30mph speed limit at The Ham and Hawkeridge Road, the proposed access is considered to be safe and compliant in highways terms.” 

Wiltshire Council gave the plans the green light at a meeting at County Hall in Trowbridge last Wednesday.

To view the plans in full search PL/2021/03749 on the Wiltshire Council planning portal. 

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