Agenda item

PL/2022/08726: Land off Ashton Road, Hilperton, Trowbridge

Erection of 1No dwelling and detached garage.


Public Participation


Sasha Berezina, Planning Consultant Representative on behalf of Andrew Cresci, local resident, spoke in objection to the application.

Gavin Johnson, local resident, spoke in objection to the application.

Alex Moss, local resident, spoke in objection to the application.

Simon Chambers, agent for the applicant, spoke in support of the application.

Lucie Castleman, on behalf of Hilperton Parish Council, spoke in objection to the application.


The Senior Planning Officer, Gen Collins, introduced the report which recommended that the Committee gave delegated authority to the Head of Development Management to grant planning permission for the erection of one dwelling and detached garage, subject to planning conditions, and the completion of a S106 legal agreement covering the matters set out within Section 10 of the report.


It was noted that prior to the Committee meeting, a Member site visit had been undertaken, with the Case Officer being present.


Key material considerations were identified including the principle of development/Wiltshire Council’s 5-year housing land supply; the impacts on the living conditions of neighbouring residents; the impacts on the character of the area/setting of the Conservation Area; highways issues; ecology; and drainage issues.


Attention was drawn to late representations that had been submitted following publication of the agenda, one of which being from an ecological consultant representing a local resident, and additional submissions with respect to the impact on the adjacent Conservation Area, Wiltshire Council’s Ecologist’s assessments, the potential effect on landscape connectivity for bats, and the impacts on daylight and shadowing of neighbouring properties.


Following from this, the Case Officer reassured Members that following publication of the agenda, Natural England had provided written confirmation that it was satisfied the development would not result in significant or harmful ecological effects, and ratified the Council’s Ecologist’s assessment, and thus resolved one of the published headline recommendations within the report.


The Committee took a comfort break from 4.00pm to 4.10pm.


Members of the Committee then had the opportunity to ask technical questions of the Planning Officer.


Details were sought on which trees and/or boundary hedging would be removed, retained, or replanted and how these would affect the screening between neighbouring properties. Questions were also asked about the Trowbridge Bat Mitigation Strategy (TBMS), the established bat flight lines and habitats, the assessments undertaken by the Council’s Ecologist, and how the development may impact the Conservation Area.


Members also queried the settlement boundaries of Trowbridge and Hilperton, the materiality of the made Hilperton Neighbourhood Plan and Hilperton Village Design Statement, the proposed scale and materials to be used, the relevance of Wiltshire Core Strategy Core Policy 2, and if the development was to be considered as an exception due to it being situated between the two boundaries.


Wiltshire Council’s housing shortfall and the inability of the Council to demonstrate a 5-year housing land supply was discussed alongside the receipt of Natural England’s written confirmation and agreement with the ecological assessments.


Members of the public then had the opportunity to present their views to the Committee as detailed above.


The Unitary Division Member, Councillor Ernie Clark, then spoke in objection to the application where he noted concerns in respect of the loss of green space and harm to the adjacent Conservation Area, the impact on the bat corridor, the scale and specifications of the development, and finally the importance of maintaining the separate historic character and identity of Hilperton village.


A debate followed where the visual impact of the development and the principle of the 5-year housing land supply were discussed alongside the Bath and Bradford on Avon Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and the “Bechstein 1500m Core Roost Buffer” for bats. The relationship and work undertaken between Wiltshire Council Planning Officers, Ecology Officers, and Natural England throughout the application process were also noted.


During the debate, a motion to refuse planning permission was moved by Councillor Ernie Clark and was seconded by Councillor Trevor Carbin. Following a vote on the motion, it was:




The Committee REFUSED planning permission, against officer recommendations, for the following reasons:


·       The development site is located outside any settlement limit and the proposal would result in developing an important gap that separates the settlements of Hilperton village and the town of Trowbridge.  The site has had planning permission for residential development refused previously and dismissed on appeal, most recently in 2000 under APP/F3925/A/00/1041721, whereby the appointed planning inspector concluded that this plot constitutes part of a continuous undeveloped gap that is necessary to safeguard the separate identity of the village of Hilperton and to maintain the setting character of the Hilperton Conservation Area.


·       Notwithstanding the acceptance that the Council cannot currently demonstrate a 5-year housing land supply, the development of this important spatial gap would materially conflict with adopted Wiltshire Core Strategy Core Policies CP1, CP2 and CP51, which inter alia seeks to protect landscape character and the separate identity of settlements. In the case for Hilperton, maintaining this site as an undeveloped gap is considered necessary as a transition plot separating the historic edge of the village and Paxcroft Mead (being part of Trowbridge) as well as providing a valued natural landscape setting to the village and the Conservation Area. The proposal would therefore conflict with Wiltshire Core Strategy Core Policy 58 by eroding the natural landscape setting to the Conservation Area and the wider setting of properties including the non-designated heritage asset at the Grange.


·       The proposal by virtue of its design, size and height, would also appear unduly prominent and unsympathetic to surrounding/neighbouring buildings, contrary to part 2 of the village design character statement and Wiltshire Core Strategy Core Policy 57.


·       The harm that would result would not be outweighed by the benefits of providing 1 additional dwelling at a time of a recognised housing supply shortfall.  Moreover, given the material conflicts with maintaining settlement identity and safeguarding the setting of the Conservation Area, and delivering high quality development, the provisions of paragraph 11 of the NPPF have been taken into account, but the weighted harm would significantly and demonstrably outweigh any benefits.



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