Ernie Clark. Hilperton Division, Wiltshire Council.

Search the site

powered by FreeFind
Quick Contact
Tel: 01225 769940
Mobile: 0794 120 1995
CurrentNewsletter
Current NewsLetter
News articles from around the Division:

Monday February 12, 2018 Hilperton Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Share |
News Image
Why was the Reg. 16 consultation draft different to the Reg. 14 version?

The major difference was to Policy 1 - Landscape setting.

The original consultation document (Reg. 14 consultation) proposed a blanket policy for the whole of the Gap stating

"The landscape setting of Hilperton village to the west (the area known locally as The ‘Hilperton Gap’, separating Hilperton from Trowbridge) will be preserved and if possible enhanced for both biodiversity and recreation.

Development will not normally be permitted in the ‘Gap’ except in accordance with Wiltshire Council Core Policy 44 or other polices of the Development Plan.

Any scheme coming forward as a result of the rural exemption granted by Core Policy 44 or other Development Plan policies must satisfy the following additional local criteria; • The openness and landscape value of the Gap must not be significantly compromised • Existing facilities for informal recreation must be preserved and enhanced • The scheme must not impact negatively on the bats of the Bath and Bradford on Avon SAC and should result in overall enhancement of local habitat."

Not surprisingly developers objected to this!  As a result, a formal Landscape and Visual Setting Analysis had to be commissioned from a professional firm of landscape architects.  In addition, Wiltshire Council published its draft Housing Site Allocation Policy (HSAP) which very unhelpfully allocated the land west of Elizabeth Way as seemingly being suitable for possible sustainable development.

For the final consultation document (Reg. 16 consultation) the policy was finally amended to read as follows:-

"The landscape setting of Hilperton village to the west will be protected in order to maintain the setting and rural character of Hilperton village and to preserve it for agriculture, biodiversity and informal recreation. The landscape setting area or ‘Gap’ will extend from the village to Elizabeth Way.

Development will not normally be permitted in the area except in accordance with Wiltshire Council Core Policy 44 or other polices of the Development Plan.

Any scheme coming forward as a result of the rural exemption granted by Core Policy 44 or other Development Plan policies must satisfy the following additional local criteria; • The openness and landscape value of the landscape setting of Hilperton as defined in the Landscape and Visual Setting Analysis Report by Indigo Landscapes (Appendix 10 to this Plan) must not be compromised • Existing facilities for informal recreation must be preserved and enhanced • The scheme must not impact negatively on the bats of the Bath and Bradford on Avon SAC and should result in overall enhancement of local habitat • The setting of St Michael and All Angels Church must not be harmed.

Development of the land west of Elizabeth Way, between the road and Trowbridge will be permitted only in accordance with proposed scheme H2.3 of the Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan (HSAP), and subject to the following conditions: • Development south of Middle Lane is restricted to public open space and landscaping • Existing rights of way should be maintained and enhanced, for example by upgrading to cyclepaths, especially in terms of links between Hilperton and Trowbridge. • Proposals must be included for protecting biodiversity and creating suitable landscaping and green infrastructure as set out in Section 8 of this Plan. • Development should be well set back from Elizabeth Way, avoiding a new and abrupt urban edge. Landscaping should help conceal the development from Hilperton and the eastern side of Elizabeth Way. • No buildings will exceed two storey’s in height. • Access to the site must be carefully considered and sited, especially in relation to pedestrian and horse traffic across the road from Hilperton to Trowbridge."

Many hours of discussion/arguing/soul searching took place before this wording was agreed by both the steering committee and the parish council.  I think it fair to say (certainly in my case) that the 'heart' wanted to keep the original wording but the 'head' argued otherwise.  All the professional advice received said to re-word the policy, and the publication of the WC HSAP had really thrown a spanner in the works.  At the end of the day, what is the point of paying for two sets of professional planning advice and then ignoring them both?  The 'head', as against the 'heart', decision was agreed upon.

 

In my submission under the Reg. 16 consultation I commented that:-

"My opinion is that the proposed protection for the whole of the Hilperton Gap is not as robust as I would have liked, but one has to accept that the publication of the Draft Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan (after the HNDP Reg. 14 consultation closing date) had to be considered by the HNDP steering group and rather tied their hands on this topic. Should the 'suggested' site west of Elizabeth Way in the Draft Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan not find favour in the future, I trust that the whole of the Hilperton Gap will be afforded the protection sought in the HNDP for the area east of Elizabeth Way."

 

Wiltshire Council commented in their consultation response "Policy 1 – Landscape Setting. 

6.6 The general thrust of this policy is clear and premised upon evidence (3).  The policy seeks to maintain a physical ‘gap’ of open space between the western edge of the village and the built framework of Trowbridge. In this regard, it [Policy 1] generally accords with paragraph 5.150 and Core Policy 29 of the WCS; as well as the recommendations set out within the HRA.

However, given the relationship of the parish to the Principal Settlement of Trowbridge it is also important that the policies do not frustrate the implementation of strategic policies in the Wiltshire Core Strategy regarding the need to identify additional land at Trowbridge to help meet the residual housing requirement set out in Core Policy 29. The Pre-submission draft Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan (HSAP) aims to do this and proposes land housing to the west of Elizabeth Way (on the edge of Trowbridge) that lies within the Parish of Hilperton. 

(3. Landscape & Visual Setting Analysis Hilperton Landscape Gap, Hilperton; Indigo Landscape Architects, October 2017."

 

Finally, the consultant to the HNDP has contacted the steering group to say:-

"The article (in the Wiltshire Times) is what I would expect from local press.

Trowbridge Town Council disagree over part of the gap. However, the fact remains that a significant gap has been retained in a robust policy likely to stand the test of time. Had we opposed the HSAP site then I think we could well have lost all protection.

Our decision was based on EVIDENCE. All plans have to do this.

Any NDP trying to simply hold back the tide and say ‘No’ to all development would be likely to fail one of the Basic Conditions (delivering sustainable development) and hence fail at Examination.

The SG made a tough but wise decision. Very hard for them to do but they showed great leadership and courage in doing so and I’m happy to be quoted on that."

 

The Examination is due to commence in April and will be conducted by a qualified Planning Inspector.  His/her findings will be known a month or so later.

 

I'm sure that the chairman of the HNDP steering group will be happy to answer any specific questions anyone has for him and I will forward any emails on your behalf.