Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

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Help shape Wiltshire’s housing and economic plans up to 2036

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Wiltshire business leaders are being urged to help shape the county’s housing and development needs up to 2036 by participating in a new consultation launched this week.

Wiltshire Council has to maintain up-to-date plans to support growth and provide for the delivery of new homes, jobs and supporting infrastructure.

These plans safeguard against speculative and unplanned development and help to ensure that future development is more sustainable and helping to build integrated local communities.

Communities and stakeholders are being asked to take part in the initial consultation and comment on the Wiltshire Local Plan Review, previously called the Wiltshire Core Strategy, and the development of a Joint Spatial Framework with Swindon Borough Council.

Toby Sturgis, cabinet member for planning, said: “This is about being on the front foot and ensuring that communities have the opportunity to get involved early in the process.

“The consultation is important – it’s about homes and jobs, including affordable homes for current and future populations, delivering properties for children and grandchildren over the next 20 years.

“One of our business plan priorities promotes job creation and improving housing supply so people can live and work locally.

“This timely review of the Wiltshire Local Plan will ensure that planning policies are focused on land for development to support sustainable growth and helping to build resilient communities for the future.”

The consultation asks for views on the scope of the future review of the Wiltshire Local Plan and the issues to be considered in preparing the Joint Spatial Framework for Swindon and Wiltshire.

The Joint Spatial Framework will give strategic direction to the scale and location of development and the infrastructure needed to support this development.

It will provide the strategic context and evidence to inform the individual local plans prepared by both local authorities. Decisions over detailed site allocations will be made through each councils individual local plan reviews.

The consultation ends at 5pm on Tuesday, December 19. Once the consultation is complete, all responses will be considered and will inform the next stages of the Wiltshire Local Plan Review and the Joint Spatial Framework.

For information on how to submit comments visit the council’s website where all the consultation documents and supporting evidence are available at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/planning-policy-local-plan-review

  • Meanwhile, an influential business lobby has received assurances that Wiltshire Council will act to avoid ‘infrastructure deadlock’.

Swindon's development delivery panel recently received assurances from Swindon Borough Council that it would look to 2050, rather than 2026, when determining infrastructure policy.

Wiltshire Council’s own policy horizon is 2036 – and this week the body received a similar assurance.

The council wrote: “The plan horizon for the Wiltshire Local Plan Review is 2036. This reflects government policy within the National Planning Policy Framework for Local Plans to relate to an appropriate timescale, ‘preferably a 15-year time horizon.’

“Predicting local household formation and population growth over a much longer timescale of more than 30 years would not be realistic. However, it is an important part of strategic planning to ensure that decisions are not made through any Local Plan that would compromise the ability to plan for the development needs of the County beyond that timescale.

“At this stage, as it is unclear what future growth needs may be beyond 2036, our current focus must be to ensure that we have a clear strategy in place for the period to 2036. In doing this, we are committed to joint working with Swindon Borough Council through the preparation of the Joint Spatial Framework, which will inform the review of both authorities’ respective plans.

“We recognise that longer term strategic planning and investment in infrastructure is important to ensure that we have sufficient headroom in capacity and are forward thinking enough to be able to respond to future development needs of the County in a timely way.”