Local Plan from Wiltshire Council
The Plan is proposing four new very large housing developments for our town (please see map below). This will add 1,340 dwellings to Royal Wootton Bassett and could increase our population by about 25 % when the local doctors, dentists, schools and roads are all struggling to cope with our existing numbers. The housing developments are all situated on green fields. They will demolish not only the local habitat but also one of the main watercourses at the Marsh Farm site at time when this year we saw unprecedented levels of flooding in RWB.
If Wiltshire Council adopts the Plan, it will guide decisions on future development in Royal Wootton Bassett
Royal Wootton Bassett has been put in the Swindon Housing Market Area which proposes a total of 3,450 dwellings. Our town has been allocated the greatest proportion of growth in the area.
If you would like to comment on Wiltshire Council’s plans, we’ve put some information together below to help make sure your voice is heard - Wiltshire Council require residents to object according to certain requirements.
How to respond online
The Royal Wootton Bassett section starts at section 4.240 or go directly here https://consult.wiltshire.gov.uk/kpse/event/6565FF19-695C-4721-B19F-3226D666441E/section/s168267721522635#s168267721522635
You can only add your comment in the designated section boxes. So if you’ve got specific comments on the different sites you can respond directly to that bit but there’s no box to make more general comments.
All of the proposals for RWB are based on this document ‘Planning for Royal Wootton Bassett’ here https://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/media/11968/Planning-for-Royal-Wootton-Bassett-September2023/pdf/Planning_for_Royal_Wootton_Bassett_September2023.pdf?m=638313246581670000
It gives the reasons why these sites were chosen and the basis to challenge to them. We have checked directly with Wiltshire Council and been told that the only way to respond to this information is to cross reference it in comments on the Local Plan.
We’ve heard from members about some of the elements missing from the Local Plan and have shared information on them below. Please feel free to use the information in your comments if you agree. If you do, please try to say it in your own words if you can.
How to start your comment
First of all, Wiltshire Council will only accept objections to the Local Plan on the basis of it being unsound or not legally compliant. This means objections have to be based on the points below.
You can object to the Plan as unsound if you think it is unjustified, ineffective, inconsistent with national policy or it hasn’t been positively prepared.
You can object to a plan as not being legally compliant if you think it doesn’t meet with the relevant legislation and directives, ignores national policy and guidance or hasn’t made the appropriate notifications.
So if you want to object to any parts of the Local Plan, please start by saying on why you think the Plan is unsound or not legally compliant e.g. The Plan is unsound because it is ineffective. It hasn’t taken into account…
What is the Local Plan missing?
Flooding and watercourses in RWB
The Plan is unsound because it is ineffective. The environmental constraints on development in the Planning for Royal Wootton Bassett document fails to take into account RWB’s location on a hill, how its consequent geology and water bodies affect flooding, and the negative impact of the proposed site at March Farm on one of the main watercourses in the town.
Specifically the town sits on a ridge of clay, a layer of limestone and then another layer of clay. When the water under the bottom clay is under sufficient pressure, it is forced up through the normally impermeable clay to result in the occurrence of springs and mud springs. The Plan does not acknowledge that water from the various springs and streams throughout the town create the flood plains in the south east.
The proposed site at Marsh Farm will totally destroy the headwater of the Thunder Brook. Thunder Brook, along with Brinkworth Brook, are the two main watercourses in the town and both lead eventually to the River Avon. The proposed flood retention ponds at Marsh Farm will instead severely restrict water flow into the Brook. The Plan is not sound because it fails to identify how the Thunder Brook will be affected by the proposed development including the impacts on nutrient run off and how the water will be forced to travel through the area. The Plan also fails to take into account the springs that drain into Jubilee Lake from this area.
The Plan is ineffective because it doesn’t take into account the flooding that resulted from Storm Babet and Ciaran on the proposed site at Woodshaw. There is no evidence of how this will impact the housing proposal.
The Plan is ineffective because it doesn’t take into account the flooding that resulted from Storm Babet and Ciaran on the proposed site at Midge Hall. The site has remained waterlogged. There is no evidence of how this will impact the housing proposal.
The Plan is unsound and ineffective because it fails to take into account the springs in the Maple Drive area that come out below Red Lodge. There is no evidence of how this will impact the housing proposal and how the housing development will impact this aspect of local biodiversity.
The Plan is unsound and ineffective through its use of outdated traffic information in the Traffic Evidence Review from Atkins. The Review is dated May 2023 but then states the date as 2022 and appears to be undertaken in 2019 using the wrong housing allocation. This Review severely underestimates the current congestion levels and the Plan should be based on a current traffic review.
The Plan is unsound and ineffective because it does not take into account the cumulative impact of all four development sites on the A3102 which is the only direct link to Chippenham and Swindon and the M4 Junction 16. This road is already very congested at rush hours. The Marsh Farm, Midge Hall and Woodshaw sites will add traffic directly onto and along the A3102 and B4042 road system. The land West of Maple Drive will add traffic to the local estate and cars and buses visiting the school, which is already under significant pressure from congestion and then all this traffic also goes onto the A3102 network.
Furthermore since the Plan was drafted, information has been published about a proposal to build a new service station on land next to Junction 16. This will also use the A3102 and the road to RWB consequently adding yet more congestion and pressure. The Plan is unsound because its failure to take this into account makes it ineffective.
Please respond by Wednesday 22nd November
Please share this information with other residents. The more residents that respond to the Local Plan, the louder our voice is. Please help protect our home.