18 Jul Marlborough Road Press Release
Wroughton Parish Council issue a press release following the decision of the Secretary of State to grant the planning appeal at Land East of Marlborough Road, Wroughton:
ARE NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANS A WASTE OF TIME, EFFORT AND PUBLIC MONEY?
On Friday 14th July 2017 the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid published his decision allowing a planning appeal and giving permission for 103 houses in Marlborough Rd, Wroughton, in contravention of Wroughton’s Neighbourhood Plan and Swindon Borough Council’s Local Plan.
Wroughton residents are rightly very angry and frustrated at this decision. Since Neighbourhood Plans were first introduced in the Localism Act 2011, Government have promoted them as a constructive way in which communities can influence planning in their area. Successive Secretaries of State, in written and verbal statements have said that planning decisions should comply with Neighbourhood Plans. It is unfortunate that in the case of this appeal the Secretary of State has made a decision which contradicts those statements. We believe that this decision, like a number of other recent planning decisions undermines the credibility of Neighbourhood Plans.
Wroughton’s Neighbourhood Plan was developed over a period of nearly 3 years by a team of volunteers with help and assistance from the community. It was subject to considerable scrutiny by planning experts, to ensure that it met the legal requirements and was then put to a referendum where it received overwhelming support from the electorate. The plan recognises that there is a need for additional housing within the village and makes provision for it on sites which are sustainable. So far planning applications have been approved for in excess of 160 houses which are in compliance with the Neighbourhood Plan.
The Parish Council considers that the appeal site is not sustainable and that the road access is unsafe for both pedestrians and cars. We do not believe that this development will bring any benefits to our community.
Steve Harcourt, Chair of the Parish Council said ‘I am bitterly disappointed at this decision, and I know that many Wroughton residents share my disappointment. Many of our residents put a lot of time and effort into helping produce the plan and it now seems that all that effort was wasted. I believe that the Secretary of State has let us down in coming to the decision to allow this appeal. Up to now I have been a strong advocate of Neighbourhood Plans, and I have been asked for advice by a number of Parishes who are working on them. Sadly I now feel that the limited weight which is given to them is not worth the several years of effort involved in developing them and then getting them adopted. Although successive Ministers have supported Neighbourhood Plans in written and spoken statements, it seems that this support is not forthcoming in deciding appeals.’
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Notes to Editors – For further information please contact:
Clerk to the Council
Wroughton Parish Council
Tel: 01793 814735