PLANNING and housing issues seem to be in the news a great deal lately (letters to the Postbag, a proposed super surgery on a greenfield site in Harnham and “Salisbury Ghost town fear”) so I was very pleased to read that Downton have a neighbourhood plan ready for approval by parish referendum.

I hope the Idmiston Parish Draft Neighbourhood Plan can be adopted before the potential planning application by Bovis homes is submitted for approximately 50 houses in Porton. The Idmiston Neighbourhood Plan (IPNP) is in its final stages of completion and will hopefully be put out for a referendum in the next few weeks. I do hope that all the hard work will be worthwhile and that local councils will adhere to the wishes of both these parishes when discussing potential planning proposals and that it will also encourage other parishes to draw up a NP to safeguard their own environment.

In Porton, the prospect of an overwhelming development by Bovis homes of up to 50 houses on a greenfield site will be a test of not only the IPNP but Wilts Core strategy, which states that in large villages developments should consist of no more than 10 dwellings. One of the purposes of the NP is to specify the sites suitable for planning opportunities within the parish, where there is an agreed need for more rural housing; therefore to allow a large development, such as the one Bovis is proposing, would make a mockery of the system.

Too many of the villages in South Wiltshire are losing their rural feel to over-development.

An action group has been set up in Porton,“Porton Not PorTown”, to help fight the potential Bovis development and maintain the rural feel.


I read with interest the outcome following Downton’s recent referendum on their neighbourhood plan. This is a major step forwards for local communities when Wiltshire Council planning committee councillors or developers should no longer be able to win by default, and the wishes of the local residents are acted upon.

As Idmiston Parish nears the stage of a referendum on their neighbourhood plan, I would hope that the planning department realise the desire for local people to get their opinions heard, particularly when the big developers are trying to push through contentious planning applications just ahead of this final hurdle, as is the case with Bovis Homes in Porton.

Hours of tireless work have gone into our local neighbourhood plan, and the recent outcome in Downton should be giving all thoseugh who have given up a massive amount of their time and energy, a real boost knowing that this is something local residents really want.

J Oliver