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Mixed fortunes for developments in Devizes and Crewe

Published: Thursday, 29th September 2016

Javid refuses an appeal for a 350 home development on the north-east side of Devizes and approves a 300 home development on farmland at Wistaston, Crewe…

Two further major housing proposals have been determined by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, one in Wiltshire and the other in Cheshire. In both cases the decision followed the recommendation of the inspectors who conducted the inquiries.

The former involved proposals for up to 350 new homes and a local centre, public open space and access roads, a cycleway and footpaths at a 20-hectare site on the north-east side of Devizes some 1.5 miles from the town centre and bordering the Kennet and Avon Canal. The scheme had been rejected by Wiltshire Council.

The scheme had been dismissed by former Environment Secretary Sir Eric Pickles but that decision was overturned last year following a legal challenge and had to be redetermined.

Javid’s decision letter noted that new elements of the development plan had come into force and a five-year housing land supply had now been demonstrated for the relevant area.

He said that the proposed development would not amount to sustainable development to the extent that it was not plan-led (for instance it would have undermined the neighbourhood plan) and that its adverse impacts would “significantly and demonstrably outweigh the identified benefits when assessed against the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework taken as a whole.”

The other proposal involved outline plans for 300 new homes on a 14-hectare farmland site at Wistaston near Crewe put forward by Gladman Developments and refused by Cheshire East Council.

The Secretary of State acknowledged that the development would erode the contribution of a local ‘Green Gap’ and that those living around the site would experience a significant change of character.

But he also considered that in the absence of a demonstrable five-year supply, the provision of up to 210 market and 90 affordable houses, weighed significantly in favour of the scheme and would help to achieve the economic and social roles of sustainability. He said the environmental harm due to the erosion of the Green Gap and the economic harm due to the loss of high quality farm land was of “limited weight.”

Read the decision letter for the Devizes proposal.

Read the decision letter for the Wistaston proposal.

Roger Milne