Cabinet decision sought for Wiltshire Council's sale of amenity land off Rabley Wood View for housing
The saga of the planning application by Manton House Estate to build 39 houses on amenity land off Rabley Wood View will end - it seems - in a decision by Wiltshire Council's cabinet on January 30.
Wiltshire Council wants to offer the land for sale on the open market now that the planning inspector has overturned Wiltshire Council's own decision to refuse planning permission.
As the Council’s land is held as public open space, with rights and obligations associated, so to enable the Council to dispose of the land it needs to be appropriated for planning purposes. It is this 'appropriation' measure that will be put before cabinet.
But it is more complicated than that. On the original application the land was jointly owned by Wiltshire Council and a Guernsey-based company called Megalodon Limited which has since been dissolved. Its ownership has passed RBC Trustees (Guernsey) Limited.
A statement from Wiltshire Council says: “As part of our plan to reduce our assets and running costs (following the declaration of this land for disposal by the Council in July 2012), and to raise funds to improve our services, we are intending to offer the land at Rabley Wood for sale on the open market."
"This is being done in conjunction with RBC Trustees (Guernsey) Limited as successors to the land from Megalodon Limited, which was granted planning consent on appeal in June 2016 for residential development and associated works."
“As part of the formal process for selling land that is public open space, our intentions will be advertised and people will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the plans. These will be summarised to and considered by the council’s cabinet at a future meeting before a decision is made.”
For 'feedback' read 'objections' - Councillors have been told: "If any objections are received to the appropriation, then these must be given serious consideration by the Council; with a summary of the responses being provided in the Cabinet paper."
The plan to build on the amenity land was vigiourously oppsoed by local residents and Marlborough Town Council. The application was 'called-in' by Council Stewart Dobson in whose division the land lies. And it was turned down by Wiltshire Council's Eastern Planning Committee - only to be allowed on appeal by the planning inspector.
Under the application, the Manton House Estate is to provide land on the water meadow as 'compensatory open space' to replace the majority of the amenity area that will be lost to the housing development. During the lengthy planning application process residents who use the current play area on the amenity land have made their views clear that the replacement area is unsuitable and too far from the houses for the safety of children using it.
It is expected that the advertisements concerning the sale will appear very soon - "so there is plenty of time for potential objectors to register their comments so these can be summarised and considered at the Cabinet meeting in January."