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Luxury homes to be built on former Shrewton laundry site
THREE luxury homes are to be built on a derelict former laundry site in Shrewton, despite fears over the risk of flooding in the area.
Wiltshire Council’s southern area planning committee gave the development the go-ahead on Thursday, against the recommendation of its own planning officers.
Developer Rattue & Griffiths Ltd applied to build the houses on the site of the Shrewton Steam Laundries, which closed down three years ago, after being refused permission for two earlier applications, one of which would have provided eight more affordable homes in the village.
The Environment Agency objects to the development of the site for housing because although the application includes a flood alleviation scheme, this would be on private land and so would not be monitored by the agency.
But Shrewton Parish Council chairman Carol Slater told the committee that although villagers would prefer to see the site developed with affordable housing, this development would be better than leaving it as it is.
“The original plan for eight houses was accepted by the village as it provided reasonable cost housing but we are quite happy to look at anything just to get that site cleared and presentable,” she said.
The committee felt that although there is a risk of flooding, it would not be increased and would likely be improved by the proposal.
A report to members from planning officers advised that the plan should also be rejected on the grounds of the loss of employment, and that the owners had not tried strenuously enough to market it to businesses.
But cllr Richard Britton said: “Realistically and pragmatically, no business is going to take that site with all the redevelopment it would need. It is simply not realistic, so whether or not it has been marketed is irrelevant.
“I think this is the wrong scheme in the wrong place, and I don’t like it. However, I have listened carefully to the points that have been made about the need for certainty at this site.”
Several committee members objected to luxury homes being built in an area where affordable homes are needed.
Cllr Chris Devine urged fellow members to refuse the application. “I wish we as a committee had seen the original application,” he said. “There is no rush on this. They could put up a fence to keep it safe and come back with an application for five affordable homes – something that would be better for Shrewton.”
The committee vote on the application was tied, and chairman Fred Westmoreland used his casting vote to approve it.
He said: “To leave this as it is in what is a pretty village would be simply unforgiveable. They should be allowed to just get on with it.”
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