Charterhouse Strategic Land are preparing to submit a planning application to Wiltshire Council for a residential development on land to the west of the A350, to the north of Melksham.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, consultation with the community is virtual both via this website and community outreach. A public presentation is being held online on 2 March and a feedback form is also available, both are linked from the ‘Tell us your views’ section below.

TELL US YOUR VIEWS

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, consultation with the community is virtual both via this website and community outreach. A public presentation is being held online on 2 March and a feedback form is also available, both are linked from the ‘Tell us your views’ section below.

TELL US YOUR VIEWS

The Site

The site comprises two agricultural fields, approximately 10 hectares (24 acres) and lies at the northern edge of Melksham, west of the A350 (Beanacre Road) and north of Dunch Lane. The site is well located to access the range of services and facilities within Melksham.

To the north of the site is an existing woodland area, with the eastern boundary following the alignment of the A350 and public footpath, wrapping around a small cluster of existing dwellings and a gas monitoring station. Dunch Lane forms the southern boundary, beyond which are employment and retail areas defining the current northern edge of the town. The railway line forms the western boundary.

Planning Context

Melksham is categorised as a Market Town within the adopted Wiltshire Core Strategy, and as such it is identified as a settlement that is capable of accommodating growth in a sustainable way.

Whilst the town has been successful in meeting the housing requirements set out in the Core Strategy, this plan is now being replaced through the Wiltshire Local Plan Review.

Current proposals set out in the emerging Local Plan, identify a requirement for Melksham to accommodate a further 2,585 homes over the extended plan period to 2036.

Wiltshire Council is also required to maintain a five-year housing land supply of sites to meet identified needs. It is accepted by Wiltshire Council that it is not able to demonstrate sufficient sites to meet the identified requirements.

There is therefore an immediate and long-term basis upon which additional growth is required in Market Towns like Melksham, to provide sustainable opportunities to address these growth requirements.

The Proposals

The proposed development will include:

  • Around 170 new homes, including affordable homes (30%).
  • New access arrangement on to the A350.
  • Pedestrian and cycle routes connecting the site with the town centre and railway station.
  • Net Biodiversity gain through strengthening of existing hedgerows and planting of additional trees.
  • Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDs).
  • Public open space and areas of play.

Technical Considerations

The proposals for the site have been informed by our understanding of the constraints and opportunities. The main areas of consideration which the development scheme needs to respond appropriately to are summarised below.

Access

It is proposed that this development will be accessed via a new priority T-junction incorporating a right-turn lane on the A350 to ensure any delay to through traffic is minimised. The junction is capable of being designed to all modern design standards and we envisage landscaping will be provided around the junction to help create a sense of arrival to the development. Within the development, roads will also reflect the residential character and we will look to provided localised narrowing and variation in road widths and surface treatment to help keep traffic speeds below 20mph, helping to create a walkable and pleasant environment.

This will be supported by a traffic-free greenway running through the heart of the development to provide pedestrian and cycle access to the south-eastern corner of the site, where improvements will be made to allow safe crossing of the Dunch Lane junction, and to allow connection onto the established shared surface cycle route towards the centre of Melksham and nearby railway station. The proposals also include provision to relocate and improve existing bus stop provision to maximise access to future residents and improve access to existing residents in the vicinity of the site. In this way, it is proposed to create new bus lay-bys close to the existing Gas Governor, broadly in the centre of the site’s front onto the A350. This location would allow integration with the internal footway network and give all residents equal access to bus services that already pass the site.

Noise

Noise measurements have been undertaken at this site to determine the level of road traffic and railway noise. These measurements have identified the greatest noise source as being the A350 and the impact is most notable to the east and west of the site, with lower levels experienced in the more central areas.

Noise will be controlled through the layout of the site and noise insulation measures to new homes where required. Our assessments to date do not identify any major constraints to development resulting from the noise conditions experienced on site.

Flood risk & drainage

The site falls entirely within Flood Zone 1 at low risk of river flooding. A surface water drainage strategy is being prepared that will address surface water drainage requirements, including the use of drainage features such as attenuation areas within the site.

Full details of the drainage strategy will be finalised prior to the submission of the planning application in order to provide the confidence that the development of this site will not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere.

Landscape

The site comprises two field pastures which are fringed by hedges and mature tree lines. The key sensitivities of the site have been identified as the dense and well-maintained boundary hedgerows and mature trees.

The area of woodland in the north of the site is recognised as a notable feature and helps to mark the transition between the rural area to the north and the urban area to the south. Views of the site are limited, with the existing boundary trees and vegetation effectively screening views into the site.

The proposals will maintain and enhance existing boundary trees and woodland, with new native planting and strengthened existing trees and hedgerows. By retaining and enhancing the existing landscape structure this will help to preserve the distinctive semi-urban character of this site.

A sensitively designed layout will allow the proposed development to integrate well into the existing landscape character and mitigate any impact on views of the site.

Trees

The species present on site include Horse Chestnut, Norway Maple, Ash, Beech, Walnut and Poplar. There are large mature trees on site, as well as groups of smaller trees such as Hazel, Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Elder. Trees are present as individual specimens, as well as in numbers forming groups.

A tree survey has been undertaken to identify the quality and value of existing trees on site, allowing decisions to be made as to the retention or removal of trees as development proposals are considered. Once the layout is finalised, an Arboricultural Impact Assessment will be produced to demonstrate that the proposed development will not have an adverse impact on trees.

Before works start on site, a Tree Protection Plan will be produced to ensure that the retained trees are protected throughout the development.

Heritage

Whilst there are no designated heritage assets within the site itself, in the vicinity there are several listed buildings, namely:

    • The Grade II* Listed Beanacre Manor and its associated Grade II Listed stables, gate piers and Gazebo;
    • The Grade I Listed Beanacre Old Manor and its associated Grade II Listed Barns; and,
    • The Grade II Listed Halfway Farmhouse.

Heritage assets within the vicinity of the site have been considered in accordance with Historic England’s Good Practice Advice 3 – ‘The setting of Heritage Assets’. This assessment has shown that there are no overriding heritage constraints to development at this site due to the lack of association and minimal intervisibility between identified heritage assets and the site. Through a sensitive approach to the layout of the proposed development, our assessments are confident that new homes at this location will not result in harm to those heritage assets within the vicinity of the site.

Ecology & Biodiversity

Site surveys have been undertaken to support the preparation of an Ecological Constraints and Opportunities Plan which will guide development at this location. Alongside this, the planning application will be supported by an Ecological Impact Assessment which will include mitigation measures compliant with the emerging advice on Biodiversity Net Gain.

Our strategy is to identify, understand and then respond appropriately to ecological and biodiversity features. This will be achieved through protection and enhancement and appropriate mitigation strategies, delivered as a comprehensive approach to ecology and biodiversity.

Utilities

A number of utilities infrastructure are present either within the site or at the site boundary. This includes an overhead electricity line and a medium pressure gas main which cross the centre of the site and an associated Gas Governor located at the western site boundary. In addition, a clean water main is also present within the site.

Tell us your views

Charterhouse Strategic Land is continuing to commission further surveys and related work to evolve the initial proposals. As part of the design evolution process, we would like to work in partnership and without prejudice with residents, Wiltshire Council, Melksham Town Council, Melksham Without Parish Council and other stakeholders. The consultation will run until 15 March 2021 and your views can be provided online through the link below.

A public presentation will take place via Zoom on 2 March 2021 at 7pm. A short presentation will be given followed by a Q&A session. Questions should be submitted in advance via email by 25 February 2021.

Tell us your views

Charterhouse Strategic Land is continuing to commission further surveys and related work to evolve the initial proposals. As part of the design evolution process, we would like to work in partnership and without prejudice with residents, Wiltshire Council, Melksham Town Council, Melksham Without Parish Council and other stakeholders. The consultation will run until 15 March 2021 and your views can be provided online through the link below.

A public presentation will take place via Zoom on 2 March 2021 at 7pm. A short presentation will be given followed by a Q&A session. Questions should be submitted in advance via email by 25 February 2021.

TAKE THE SURVEYACCESS LIVE MEETING

Contact Us

Charterhouse Strategic Land has appointed Community Consultants, TFA, who are available 24/7 to assist in answering queries or providing help with access to information.

BY PHONE

0117 452 0273

BY POST

TFA, Tobacco Factory, Raleigh Road, Bristol, BS3 1TF