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Row over Coombe Bissett affordable homes
6:20am Thursday 18th October 2012 in News
PARISH councillors in Coombe Bissett are calling for Wiltshire Council to “stand by its principles” when it comes to affordable housing for the village.
Residents say a plot of land in the centre of the village is a perfect site for four affordable homes, but their efforts have been met with opposition from the land owners, Wiltshire Council.
They say the council is only interested in using the disused site, opposite St Michael and All Angels Church on the A354, to build two executive homes, both with four or five bedrooms.
Parish council vice chairman Des Hobson said: “There’s almost nothing left in the village which is affordable to the average person anymore - the council houses have been sold off over the last 30 years and houses sell for £2million or £3million.
“On behalf of the parish council I have been trying for three years now to change Wiltshire Council's mind on this, and feel I am constantly given the run around.
“We have established that the site would meet Coombe Bissett and Homington’s need for affordable housing and I think it would be a real tragedy if it didn’t.”
The project has unanimous support from the parish council and support from neighbours close to the site, which is an old chalk pit and a former depot used by Wiltshire Council.
Parish councillors have also found a developer, one of Wiltshire Council’s recommended developers, which has agreed to build affordable houses on the plot.
Mr Hobson said: “Although Wiltshire Council is telling everyone else to build affordable housing, it is doing exactly the opposite with this plot of land it owns. “It is trying to sell it for executive homes, and doing all it can not to use it for affordable housing.”
A Wiltshire Council spokesman said “options” for the future development of the site were being considered and the capital assets committee had yet to make a decision on “how the sale of the land is approached”.
She said: “There have already been some discussions on the provision of affordable housing in the village and this will be a factor in the committee’s decision.”