Plans to allocate land for over 2,500 new homes to the south of a Wiltshire town have been labelled “unjustified” and “unsound.”

The Wiltshire Local Plan, which is currently under a consultation ending on November 22, has identified Chippenham as a “broad location for growth” and allocated space for around 2,525 new dwellings, largely to the south of the town near Pewsham.

At a meeting of the Chippenham Town Council planning committee, residents and town councillors debated the proposal, with many objecting to the scale.

Both town councillors and residents spoke in favour of amending the plan, to reduce the scale of the development around the town, claiming 2,525 houses was “significantly more” than what was required.

There are concerns that an increase in the number of houses in the area would cause congestion and the loss of greenfield sites.

A report compiled by town council officers before the meeting said: “The housing target allocated to Chippenham is much too high, bears no relation to Chippenham’s actual housing needs and is predicated on substantial numbers of people relocating here, in order to commute back out, causing more congestion and significant damage to the climate.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: A housing development in WiltshireA housing development in Wiltshire (Image: Trevor Porter)

This was echoed by town councillor Pete Cousins, who spoke ahead of the meeting.

He said: “I reject the plan as I do not feel it is sound, and it is not justified.

“The plan does not take into account the fragile state of Wiltshire, the UK, and the world in 2023.”

Members of the town council believe that the proposed housing figures should be reduced to reflect the potential for the development of brownfield sites around the town.

These include the Bath Road Car Park and Bridge Centre site.

Town councillors emphasised that development is necessary but should be carried out sustainably.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: An aerial view of ChippenhamAn aerial view of Chippenham

Cllr Nic Puntis added: “We have a responsibility to provide homes for our growing population, that doesn’t mean to say we let go of ensuring construction is done to a standard that is best for our environment.”

The Local Plan admits that the scale of the development would “exacerbate traffic congestion in and around the town.”

But this would be “alleviated” by a new link road between the A4 and the A350, which Wiltshire Council believes would encourage sustainable travel.

Town councillors were not convinced by these claims and, in a representation to the council, said that there was no “robust evidence” to suggest this was the case.

Chippenham Town Council has now submitted several representations suggesting amendments to the plan.