The Crown Estate has sold its controversial 33-acre Salisbury Road development site to Redrow Homes. The site has outline planning consent from Wiltshire Council for 175 homes - 40 per cent of them affordable - and a hotel.
Redrow Homes are a major housing developer building around 5,000 new homes every year in about a hundred locations nationwide. Redrow will now have to get detailed - or 'full' - planning permission from Wiltshire Council once they have decided on designs and layout for the development.
The sale was handled for the Crown Estate by estate agents Savills who advertised it as an 'Outstanding residential development opportunity'. The price has not been revealed.
About half of the Salisbury Road site site will be open space including ecology habitats, play areas, woodland planting and a wild flower meadow. There will also be measures to protect local wildlife, in particular, the Marlborough Railway Tunnel bat hibernation site.
The site has its difficulties: it includes a pipeline and a groundwater protection zone that protects Marlborough's drinking water supply much of which comes from a borehole within the site.
As a condition of the outline planning permission, the developer will pay infrastructure funding that includes £700,000 towards St John’s Academy, £80,000 towards the local GP surgery, highway improvements such as new pedestrian crossings, and upgrades to pedestrian and cycle routes and funding to improve local sports facilities.
During the planning application process, Marlborough Town Councillors stressed their anxieties about the impact this development will have on the already very busy Salisbury Road leading into the town. Wiltshire Council officers dismissed their concerns.
It so happens that one of the house designs Redrow Homes uses on its sites is called The Marlborough. It is part of Redrow's 'Heritage Collection' of new build home designs.
The sales literature for this 5-bedroom design reads - in part: "An extensive executive home of real substance, The Marlborough creates a first impression that lasts...Open plan living and dining areas make spending time together a pleasure, while the cosy snug is ideal for quieter moments of relaxation."
Redrow plc was founded in North Wales in 1974 as an engineering concern.
Its first major housing development was begun in 1979 in Denbigh and it still has its registered offices in Flintshire.