Housing land supply
A planning enquiry in early April 2019 is intended to set out which housing sites are acceptable to the local authority. Wiltshire Council has produced its own list of preferred sites, which will now be scrutinised by a planning inspector, whose decision on whether the list is sound will be final.
From the Civic Society’s point of view, two sites are particularly important:
North of the Netherhampton Road – a large site south of the road, just on the western edge of the city, is contentious, not least because of its impact on traffic, but is seen by the Society as better than alternative ones. However a site north of the road, added by Wiltshire Council quite late in the day to its list of preferred ones, will have a significant effect both on views of the cathedral, and on the character of the city as one enters it from the west. Consultants engaged by Wiltshire Council have concluded that the damaging effect on views of the cathedral cannot be satisfactorily countered, but other perceived advantages seem to have been judged by the council as outweighing this. The Society has objected to this northern site, and it now remains to be seen how the inspector will view it.
Britford Lane fields – this area of greenery, very close to the core of the city, is seen by many as an essential part of Salisbury’s character, which should never be built on. However its owners have been trying for some time to get it accepted as land for houses. It was not selected by Wiltshire Council as one of its preferred sites, but the owners are now hoping that one at least of those sites will be deemed unsuitable by the enquiry inspector, opening up the possibility of the Britford Lane fields coming into the reckoning as a replacement site. The Civic Society has always been strongly opposed to building on the fields, and will campaign against the idea if the enquiry does not finally scotch it.
31st March 2019