Town councillors reject Aster’s plans for houses at Newby Acre
There were twenty-eight members of the public at Monday's (November 16) meeting of the town council's planning committee - all intent on getting Aster Communities' plans to build a single pair of semi-detached homes at Newby Acre rejected. And they were rejected by councillors.
Councillors had before them a 90-signature petition and fifteen letters of objection. And they heard passionate pleas from three people: Maria Scarr, Mary Claridge and Vince Francis.
They each took various aspects of the plans and quoted from the National Planning Policy Framework and from Wiltshire's core strategy - especially as regards loss of green infrastructure and designs that lacked the necessary 'high quality'.
The main threads of their objections were the loss of parking and Wiltshire Highways' refusal to understand the parking problem in the area, infringement of privacy from a three-storey building looking straight into existing homes, and lack of access for emergency services.
Councillors agreed with their points - and added a few of their own. The Town Mayor, Councillor Margaret Rose congratulated the letter writers - and especially liked their description of the planned homes as being 'shoe-horned in.'
Councillor Fogg ('The Highways Department are a law unto themselves') wondered whether the amenity area to be lost could after thirty years of use be defined as a town green. The Town Clerk will look into that.
Councillor Allen criticised the Highways Department's view that the loss of two parking spaces was not enough to reject the plans.
It was said that Aster Communities were applying for the planning permission as they wanted to sell the plot to a developer.
All the councillors but one on a slightly depleted committee voted in favour of rejection citing a number of reasons including over-development, design, loss of amenity, lack of parking... Councillor Light abstained because he is a shareholder in Aster.
Councillor Fogg wanted it made plain to planning officers that this application should come before Wiltshire Council's Eastern Planning Committee.