HEYWOOD Parish Council has raised concerns that Wiltshire Council’s proposed plan to build 710 new houses in Westbury, could lead to the ‘demise’ of their parish.
The parish council has highlighted that two sites in the Parish of Heywood have been put forward by Wiltshire Council in its emerging local plan as potential development sites for some of the 710 new houses for Westbury.
They have told Wiltshire Council that they are concerned that if the two sites are adopted, it could lead to a revision of Westbury’s settlement boundary and the ‘break up’ of the Parish of Heywood.
A letter to Wiltshire Council from chair of the parish council, cllr John Masson, has criticised the council’s spatial planning department for its ‘lack of consultation’ about the inclusion of the sites, and has demanded answers.
Cllr Masson, said, “Included in the Wiltshire Council emerging Local Plan documentation is ‘Looking for the future – Planning for Westbury’, which contains a map on page 7 showing potential development sites for assessment.
“Two of those sites, sites 1 and 2, are not in the Westbury settlement area but are in the Parish of Heywood and its associated Designated Neighbourhood Area and are not included in the parish’s emerging Neighbourhood Plan.
“The inclusion of these two sites as potential development areas does raise the question as to whether any houses built on both or either of those sites, if adopted, would be deducted from the 710 houses that are to be provided in Westbury as part of the Local Plan or as they would be built outside the settlement boundary would Westbury still have to provide 710 houses.
“The parish council is extremely disappointed that it was not informed by spatial planning that these sites were to be included for assessment.
“It was only by chance that the parish found out that the sites were being considered. Had the parish not found out what was happening there is a likelihood that it would not have been made aware of the proposals for the sites to be included until the proposed Plan came up for review.
“The proposals could have a major effect on the parish. The parish is concerned that if either or both of the two sites are adopted it would lead to a revision of Westbury’s settlement boundary to include them and their annexation by Westbury in some future boundary review, and the associated demise of the Parish of Heywood.
“The Parish Council requests that you investigate how and why this omission occurred and to confirm that there is no hidden agenda on the part of Wiltshire Council to break up the Parish of Heywood.”
In response, Wiltshire Council director, Sam Fox, said, “The council has consulted all town and parish councils providing the opportunity to comment on all the consultation material including site options for future development.
“The Local Plan consultation was open to all interested individuals and organisations to comment on all aspects of the Plan, which will cover the whole of Wiltshire.
“Heywood Parish Council has formally responded to the consultation and set out its concerns about these two sites at Westbury, which will be considered alongside all other comments received on the recent consultation as the draft Plan is developed.”