AN AMAZING U-turn has been made over a contentious planning application in Royal Wootton Bassett, planning officers saying it should be thrown out despite wanting to give it the green light just two months ago.

The proposals include building 320 homes, a supermarket, a nursing home and a community hub on land at Marsh Farm.

Residents and councillors wrote in their masses to Wiltshire Council’s planning officers, with more than 550 letters of objection to the plans.

Many argued the plans would ruin the character of the landscape in the area and add to the increasing traffic problems residents are facing.

A decision was due at a meeting in February when planning officers were going to recommend that the strategic planning committee approve the application despite acknowledging how the application would lead to the loss of green countryside and impact on a heritage asset in the form of the neighbouring Marsh Farm Hotel.

Officers also said their hands were tied with regard to turning it down as Wiltshire Council, at the time, was unable to show a viable five-year supply of housing.

But following a barrage of questions from committee members, it was decided that they should visit the site to make a more informed decision and the plans were deferred until next week.

Coun Mollie Groom, who represents Lydiard Tregoze, said she hopes committee members take note of the planning officer’s recommendation for the housing proposals.

She added: “It is a very lengthy report but, at the time of the last committee, we couldn’t demonstrate the five-year land supply because the inspector at Chippenham had some issues.

“But now we hope that the committee members follow the recommendation, which we see as good news.”

The second part of the application had originally been for a Lidl supermarket, 33 senior living units and a care home but now developers Leda Properties have withdrawn their plans for the living units.

Wiltshire Council’s planning officers have recommended that councillors approve these adjusted proposals for the supermarket and care home but only if the developers sign a Section 106 agreement to address affordable housing, highways works and a waste/recycling facility.

The strategic planning committee will be held at County Hall in Trowbridge next Wednesday at 10.30am to decide whether to give the plans the go-ahead or not.