IT HAS been confirmed that Chippenham MP Michelle Donelan has withdrawn her support for Future Chippenham and that she will petition for even lower housing numbers.

When a resident wrote to her about their concerns over the project championed by Wiltshire Council she responded that she had withdrawn her backing.

Ms Donelan had previously threatened to step back from it if she was not reassured it included the right infrastructure for the town.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Letter to a resident written by MP Michelle DonelanLetter to a resident written by MP Michelle Donelan

This was when the housing number proposed was 7,500 – a figure which was reduced to 4,200 when Wiltshire Council unveiled its radically scaled back plans.

In the letter, Ms Donelan wrote: “House building must not have housing numbers as its sole objective, but should rather focus on community building.

“I want to assure you that I will continue to campaign to Wiltshire Council for a more locally based approach to housebuilding for a further reduction of housing numbers.”

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She went on to say that many young people were priced out of living in their own town which she said was a worrying trend in areas across the county – made all the worse by working from home.

“House prices in Chippenham are significantly higher than in many towns in Wiltshire and the town’s excellent links by road and rail make it an attractive destination for those who work in Swindon, Bath, Bristol and London,” she added.

“I shall continue to work with the housing minister in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to seek answers and highlight the issues that you and other constituents have raised to me.”

Previously, the MP has said she will fight for a radical change of the scheme’s proposed housing numbers.

And she has threatened to totally withdraw her support should assurances not be met.

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She said she had repeatedly asked for improvements in Chippenham town centre and was told the £75m grant would offer this, but she has come out to say these assurances had not been met by Wiltshire Council.

Leader of the council, Richard Clewer said: “We have shared our recent correspondence with Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP on our website Wiltshire Council responds to a letter from Michelle Donelan MP regarding Future Chippenham – Wiltshire Council.

The MP’s support of the Future Chippenham programme is dependent on the council delivering specific outcomes for Chippenham and its residents and the council is continuing dialogue with the MP on these outcomes.

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“We also note in the letter to her constituent that Rt Hon Michelle Donelan has campaigned against the number of homes that could be allocated as part of the Local Plan review process.

“We need to make it very clear this is independent from and should not be confused with the Future Chippenham programme, which will respond to the outcome of the local plan review process.

"However, any options for development remain dependent on the outcome of the Local Plan review which will determine the allocation of sites for development and agreement with Homes England who are forward funding infrastructure for the agreed development.”