22 April 2024

Wiltshire Council Cabinet to consider ambitious Local Plan ahead of public consultation

At its meeting today, Tuesday, 11th July, Cabinet will consider the review of the Wiltshire Local Plan, as this important document approaches the final stages towards adoption.

The Plan will set out the vision and framework for housing, infrastructure and land for employment growth for the next 15 years. Once adopted, all planning applications will be determined against the Plan, making it the most important place-shaping document for Wiltshire.

It also identifies sites for both housing and employment development until 2038. Following work to assess the number of homes needed, the number of planned homes in the Plan has been significantly reduced from its last iteration. When the Plan was consulted on in 2021, it proposed 45,630 homes over 20 years to 2036, but the updated Plan that Cabinet will consider proposes 36,740 homes, of which over 21,900 homes have already been built or are committed.

The local plan update now requires 40% of all new housing on developments of 10 homes or more to be affordable. Greater flexibility has been added to rural exception sites to make it easier to provide affordable housing in villages where there is clearly identified demand, but those developments will still need to be proportionate to the size of a village.

The proposed Plan also sets out ambitious sustainability policies, as new developments will have to meet zero carbon standards, including energy generation such as solar panels. Biodiversity in Wiltshire will improve too, as the Plan policies set out a 20% net gain for all new developments, compared to the 10% legal requirement. All new developments must also have cycling and walking connections.

Cllr Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, said: “This is an ambitious and sustainable Plan that, if approved, will set out both where and how new developments may be built in the county over the next 15 years. It will provide for high quality, sustainable homes and a choice of new employment opportunities in the right locations. This is about meeting Wiltshire’s needs for homes and not building any more new houses than are required.

“This Local Plan is about providing for a choice of high-quality designed housing, including affordable homes, in the most sustainable locations; maximising development on brownfield sites; supporting town centres; and providing high quality new public open spaces.

“This is also the most sustainable Local Plan we’ve ever produced, as all new homes will need to meet zero carbon standards, and there must be a 20% biodiversity net gain for all new developments.

“We recognise that a number of the sites identified for new development may prove contentious in some areas, but these sites have been selected because they are the most sustainable, taking account of the results of previous consultations and the gathering of evidence – and as a local council we are required to provide appropriate sites for housing, employment and other infrastructure.

“In our Business Plan, we have committed to an updated Local Plan as an effective policy framework for the sustainable growth of Wiltshire that addresses the strategic needs of the county. And if the draft Plan passes through both Cabinet, and then Full Council, we will then be consulting with our residents in the autumn.”

To read the full Cabinet report, people should go to: https://cms.wiltshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=141&MId=14748

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns