House builder Gleeson has submitted a 23-page response to the Malmesbury Neighbourhood Plan consultation setting out the reasons why it believes the plan is flawed and unlikely to be found sound by an independent planning inspector.

The response says that the draft plan is not supported by a robust evidence base.

Among the details contained in the plan that Gleeson questions is Wiltshire Council’s assertion that Malmesbury has a significant employment base, resulting in the highest level of in-commuting of all of the market towns in Wiltshire.

Gleeson states: “There is a significant imbalance between jobs and houses which the Neighbourhood Plan should address in order to reduce the need to travel, provide more sustainable housing and sustain economic growth.”

The Sustainability Appraisal which supports the Neighbourhood Planning Process is heavily criticised in Gleeson’s response, concluding this work needs to be undertaken correctly in order to identify the sites which are most sustainable for development and for the plan to be found sound.

Some of the issues Gleeson highlights in relation to this document include proximity to flood zones and the impact on the setting of the AONB.

Gleeson’s response also raises concerns about the 85-metre contour which the plan uses to dismiss sites.

Scott Chamberlin from Gleeson said:”It is our professional opinion that the plan is flawed and as a result there has been a lot of time and expenditure into a plan which runs a serious risk of being found unsound and sent back to the drawing board by an independent inspector.”