Crunch time for Chippenham housing

First published in News by

Two major housing schemes that have caused controversy in Chippenham could both be decided within the next few weeks.

If passed 1,200 homes and two new schools will be built in the town, with work starting in a little over a year’s time.

Wiltshire Council has just received an amended plan for the Birds Marsh development and it is now likely to be discussed by the strategic planning committee on January 22 or February 12.

If approved, 750 homes and a primary school will be built north of Chippenham. The second scheme up for discussion on January 22 will be the Hunters Moon project which includes 450 homes and a school on land between Chippenham and Corsham.

Persimmon and Barratt are both stakeholders in the Birds Marsh scheme and Andrew Ross, an associate director with agents Turley, said he believed they would be keen to start building as soon as possible.

He said: “It usually takes at least a year for the details of the planning to be put in place but with the housing market now looking much more positive they are likely to want to start work as soon as possible after that is resolved.”

The amendments to the Birds Marsh scheme have been forced by campaigners who, after a five-year battle, managed to gain Village Green status on the Birds Marsh woodland. This prevents any building work from being carried out.

Plans for children’s play areas and drainage work have now had to be relocated.

Bloor Homes is behind the Hunters Moon development which has upset Chippenham Town Council as councillors fear it will remove a buffer zone between Chippenham and Corsham.

Town councillor Sandie Webb said: “I don’t like this scheme as it does nothing for the town centre of Chippenham and will blur the division between the two towns. The only secondary school with spaces in Chippenham is Abbeyfield and that is right on the other side of the town so will greatly increase traffic.

“I am not so against the Birds Marsh development as it is closer to the town and we need new housing.”

But Peter Humphrey, chairman of the Friends of Birds Marsh, said: “Wiltshire Council is determined this plan will go through and there is nothing more we can do.

“We wanted to take it to judicial review but the council made it clear that if it failed we would have to pay the cost of it. Unless the people are now prepared to take to the streets we have to accept this plan will now be passed.

“Chippenham is being made to bear the brunt of Wiltshire’s house building and that does not seem fair.”

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