Having ontinued to read through the draft Neighbourhood Plan and supporting documents
I am convinced that Malmesbury needs to have a robust plan in place to ensure
that any future development is both sustainable and reflects the future needs of the community.
However this draft plan in its current format needs more work
I am concerned that the current draft proposals are based on some inaccurate and
unsound information which does not stand up to detailed scrutiny. The site
selection criteria used to determine which sites are earmarked for future
potential development seems to contain a number of errors which in my view
could cast doubt over the robustness of the plan.
For the plan to be ultimately endorsed by the community of Malmesbury it must be accurate and
be able to stand up to detailed scrutiny not just by the residents of Malmesbury
but also by potential developers who will look for any errors or weaknesses in
the plan to undermine it and make their case for development of alternative
I have highlighted below 3 examples of inaccurate information / assessment that I feel
could cast doubt over the validity of the plan;
1, MNSG Site
Selection Criteria 5 – Designation of land
The Garden Centre Site has been classifeid as a Greenfield Site and scored the same as the
Avon Mills Site. This cannot be correct as the Avon Mills site is a greenfield
in a conservation area in agricultural use. The Garden Centre Site currently
operates as a Garden Centre and is zoned for industrial units. It is true that a
very small part may be classified as a Greenfield but if the plan is to be
credible it must refect the true status of each location.
2, MNSG Site
Selection Criteria 11 – Impact on historical views
All supermarket sites score 1 for impact on the historic views of Malmesbury,
except for site 4 Reeds Farm (Land NW of) and site 6 Filands (Land N W of) who
have both been scored 10. Site 6 Filands (Land N W of) may be above the 85
metre contour line in terms of location but there are no significant views of
Malmesbury or the Abbey from the site. The only view from the site is of the
Filands development. It is these small errors which raise doubts over the
robustness of the plan.
3, MNSG Site Selection Criteria S1 – Location - Avon Mills (Land S E
This site has been assessed as being within 300 metres of the primary shopping area and
well connected to the town centre. It has therefore been classified as an ‘Edge
of Centre location’. This is wrong.
I have measured the distance from the base of the proposed ramp to the supermarket to
various points in the town and all exceed 300 metres. If you add on approx' 150
metres to reach the actual entrance to the supermarket the distances are as
Kings Wall / Southgate = 403 metres
Smoking Dog = 440 metres
Ingram Street = 484 metres
Zebra Crossing (St Dennis Road) = 578 metres or over half a
Market Cross = 703 metres
Old Bell Hotel = 865 metres
The Triangle = 1032 metres or over a kilometre
These distances are also uphill so any linked trips will be great
Once again it is essential that the criteria are correctly applied so that the community
can have confidence in the process.
Whilst the above comments may appear to be critical they are not intended to be. It is
important that any errors are corrected during the draft consultation phase to
ensure the plan is robust and can stand up to detailed scrutiny and any legal
challenge from developers in the future.
There are many good things in the draft plan and I am keen to ensure any errors are
removed during this consultation phase.
Malmesbury Neighbourhood Steering Group
What others are saying about our Draft Neighbourhood Plan Over 500 residents have already looked at the draft plan. These are the comments that they have made about it.
Our consultation runs from the 5th of March 2013 to April 26th 2013. These are the published comments received up to 08/03/13.
All comments below were submitted to this online feedback portal. We hold the identity and addresses for each submission and have decided not to publish them unless specifically requested by the person who submitted them.