Westbury, in common with several other communities in Wiltshire and indeed across the country, is developing a Neighbourhood Plan for the town. Neighbourhood Planning is a way for people to decide the future of where they live and work. A neighbourhood plan cannot block all development, but it can help control it.
The Government is committed to building more houses in the coming years to cope with increased demand. Councils all over the country are expected to oversee the building of houses in their areas, and Wiltshire Council is no exception.
Our Neighbourhood Plan must comply with Wiltshire Council’s Local Plan and the government’s wider policy of sustainable development. Wiltshire needs to be planning to deliver a minimum of 44,450 extra homes up to 2036, 13,500 of which must be in the Trowbridge Housing Market Area (which includes Bradford on Avon, Warminster and Westbury as well as Trowbridge itself). This means that it is inevitable that some new housing will have to be built in Westbury in the future.
Having a Neighbourhood Plan in place will help us ensure that this housing is suitable for the town and meets the needs of our area. It will also help us to identify the facilities and services that need to be in place to meet the demands that any new housing will make upon our community.
The Neighbourhood Plan is not only limited to the development of housing. It can be used to develop a shared vision for the neighbourhood: choose where new homes, shops, offices and other development should be built; identify and protect important local green spaces; influence what new buildings should look like.
Once approved, our plan will have legal force in setting out what development is acceptable in our town and for what reasons. Developers and local authority planners will have to take notice of it. Without a Neighbourhood Plan, we will have little control over any development that takes place and will receive less community funds from those developments.