Agenda and minutes

Western Area Planning Committee - Wednesday 7 June 2023 3.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Ellen Ghey - Democratic Services Officer  Email:


No. Item



To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bill Parks and Suzanne Wickham.


Councillor Wickham was substituted by Councillor Mike Sankey.


There was discussion of the constitutional changes approved by Full Council on 16 May 2023, which permitted each group to appoint more than four substitutes for planning committees, and encouraging group leaders to appoint further substitute members at the next opportunity.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To approve and sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 10 May 2023.

Supporting documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 10 May 2023 were presented for consideration, and it was,




To approve and sign the minutes as a true and correct record.




Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.


There were no declarations.


Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements through the Chair.


There were no specific announcements.


Through the Chair Councillor Stewart Palmen reported that since the last meeting an appeal had been refused for application PL/2021/07458 regarding a partial retrospective application for extension and conversion above a shop along Newtown, Trowbridge, which could now be subject to enforcement action.



Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.




Members of the public who wish to speak either in favour or against an application or any other item on this agenda are asked to register no later than 10 minutes before the start of the meeting. If it is on the day of the meeting registration should be done in person.


The rules on public participation in respect of planning applications are linked to in the Council’s Planning Code of Good Practice. The Chairman will allow up to 3 speakers in favour and up to 3 speakers against an application, and up to 3 speakers on any other item on this agenda. Each speaker will be given up to 3 minutes and invited to speak immediately prior to the item being considered.


Members of the public will have had the opportunity to make representations on the planning applications and to contact and lobby their local member and any other members of the planning committee prior to the meeting. Lobbying once the debate has started at the meeting is not permitted, including the circulation of new information, written or photographic which have not been verified by planning officers.




To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution which excludes, in particular, questions on non-determined planning applications.


Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on Wednesday 31 May 2023 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response, questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on Friday 2 June 2023. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.


Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.





The procedure for public participation was noted.


Commons Act 2006 - Sections 15(1) and (2): Application to Register Land as Town or Village Green - Southwick Court Fields, Southwick and North Bradley - Application no.2020/02TVG

To consider the evidence submitted regarding an application made under Sections 15(1) and (2) of the Commons Act 2006, to register land at Southwick Court Fields, in the parishes of Southwick and North Bradley, as a Town or Village Green (TVG) – Application no.2020/02TVG, in order to determine the application.


Supporting documents:


Public Participation

Cllr Graham Hill, Trowbridge Town Council, Grove Ward, spoke in support of the application in his personal capacity.

Geoff Whiffen spoke in support of the application.

Francis Morland made comments in respect of the application process.


Janice Green, Senior Definitive Map Officer, presented a report to consider evidence submitted regarding an application made under Sections 15(1) and (2) of the Commons Act 2006, to register land at Southwick Court Fields, in the parishes of Southwick and North Bradley, as a Town or Village Green, application no.2020/02TVG, in order to determine whether or not Wiltshire Council, as the Commons Registration Authority, should appoint an independent Inspector to preside over a non-statutory public inquiry to assist in its determination of the application. The officer set out details of a late representation received since publication of the agenda regarding an appeal lodged against refusal of a planning application across part of the site.


The officer explained the legislation which governs applications to register a town or village green; The background to this application and the trigger events which have affected it; The identification of Grove Ward, Trowbridge as the locality for the application, in which area most of those supporting the application are resident; The Council as Commons Registration Authority has no investigative powers:   the burden of proof rests with the applicant; In dealing with an application, the Council is required to observe the rules of natural justice; The evidence required to register land as a town or village green is that a significant number of inhabitants of any locality or neighbourhood within a locality  have indulged, as of right, in lawful sports and pastimes on the land for at least 20 years and continue to do so.


Members of the Committee had the opportunity to ask technical questions of the officer. Further details were sought on the two planning trigger events, and it was confirmed that should the refusal of planning permission on part of the site be upheld at appeal, the same part of the site would remain subject to the trigger that was the adopted Wiltshire Housing Sites Allocation Plan, meaning only a small area of the application land could be approved.


There were queries on what activities constituted lawful sports and pastimes, and the status of hedgerow fruit picking on the land. It was confirmed that testing of the evidence submitted would require the holding of a non-statutory public inquiry, which was likely to result in additional evidence coming forward. Further details were also sought on the recorded rights of way and other tracks across the site, and land which appeared inaccessible and might not be included should the application be ultimately successful.


In this case, there was a conflict in the evidence provided and the officer’s recommendation was, therefore, to appoint a barrister to hold a non-statutory public enquiry which would provide an opportunity for the evidence to be tested and for witnesses to be cross-examined. The barrister would provide a report and his recommendation would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Urgent Items

Any other items of business which, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be taken as a matter of urgency.



There were no urgent items.