At last night’s Planning committee meeting (24 February) Councillors voted to reject a planning application for a development of six ‘one and two bed’ houses on the former Scorpion Buildings site at Brunel Court, just off Elcot Lane on the grounds of ‘over development’.
Whilst approval was given for change of use from B1 (business) use to C3 (dwelling house), Councillors felt that there were too many properties being fitted into a very limited space, hence the grounds of ‘over development’.
An earlier application (19/07124/FUL), submitted in August last year was withdrawn before it came before the Wiltshire Council Planning Committee for decision. Whilst it is not possible for members of the public to view the revised plans online – the Wiltshire Council Online Planning Portal system isn’t operational at present – the previous application attracted nine letters of objection from residents living adjacent to the site. Letters of objection can’t currently be submitted via the Planning Portal so it is not possible to see true extent and nature of the objections to the latest application.
The original objections were not against change of use, nor against a residential development per se, but concerned issues such as number of properties proposed, proximity to adjacent properties, car parking, height of proposed houses, enlarged footprint of the proposed overall building, the accuracy of the plans as presented – to summarise, over development. Further issues included privacy – surrounding properties being overlooked by the proposed two/three story houses as many adjacent are single story as is the building currently occupying the site, and the effect of the extra traffic which would inevitably create parking problems in the immediate area.
Neighbouring resident Pam Bethwaite attended last night’s meeting, she made the point that the revised plans in the resubmission were almost the same as the original, albeit for some slight change of positioning of the properties. She had submitted a letter of objection which hadn’t been acknowledged by Wiltshire Council, which set out the concerns above, making the point that “the new application has not changed to any extent”, other than pointing out that “the buildings have been moved nearer to my property by about two metres”.
Whilst the individual properties proposed were quite small, they weren’t being developed as ‘affordable’ or ‘social’ housing, thus outside what the Marlborough Area Neighbourhood Plan is looking to encourage, and ‘not for the families that really need them’, a point clearly made by Councillor and former Mayor Lisa Farrell.