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New Settlements, 12th April

The Society’s annual Planning Forum looked at the idea of a completely new settlement, to cope with the endless pressure for more housing land, and was a great success. Speakers covered an existing one in Cambridgeshire, and a new extension to one southeast of Winchester. Lessons that emerged were the need for a coherent master plan, which fits houses into an attractive landscape setting, and the complexity of the planning process. A settlement of this sort is large enough – 3000+ houses – to incorporate the necessary infrastructure, as opposed to the current piecemeal addition of new sites round the edge of Salisbury and elsewhere.

Wiltshire Council did not send a speaker, but it was revealed that they are considering the new settlement concept, at the strategic level. The area east of Salisbury would be the likeliest in south Wiltshire, but there’s a long way to go before any sort of actual plan is seen, for any location. However some very positive messages emerged from the meeting.