APOLOGIES if you don’t like me banging on about housing, but the shortage of it, and where we should put it, is such a crucial issue.

And it’s directly linked to the quality of representation we get from those we elect to serve us (ha ha!) at all levels. It came as a pleasant surprise when Wiltshire’s ruling cabinet voted to give councillors extra time to comment on its planners’ proposed sites for new homes, and on the concerns of objectors who felt ignored.

I emailed all 19 members representing parts of the Journal’s circulation area, ie. Salisbury and south Wiltshire. I told them that, on behalf of our readers, I wondered whether they were happy with the choice of local sites, and with the way the council reacted to concerns expressed during its ‘public consultation’.

I admitted I was having difficulty ploughing through the thousands of pages of paperwork online and asked whether they had managed it.

And finally, since none of them had raised any issues at the cabinet meeting, I asked whether they’d be taking the opportunity now.

Only three replied.

These were Richard Clewer, Graham Wright and Ian McLennan. So thank you to them for their courtesy.

Cllr Wright raised doubts that Durrington and Larkhill could cope with the recommended 60 more homes on top of 450 already being provided under the Army rebasing project. He felt the council should have considered their combined impact on the local community and infrastructure. Surely he has a point?

Cllr McLennan was pleased by the allocation of 14 homes at The Yard, Hampton Park, saying it would complete the Bishopdown Farm development, and provide benefits for the Laverstock and Ford communities.

Cllr Clewer, a cabinet member, was surprised none of his colleagues had voiced worries about the Netherhampton Road sites for 740 homes in Harnham, despite 289 people (myself included) having done so in the ‘public consultation’.

He said he had already raised concerns about the traffic they would generate but had been told that it could all be sorted out at the planning application stage.

Watch out, Coombe Bissett and Bishopstone! All those extra drivers trying to avoid the Harnham gyratory queues will be whizzing up that lane past the racecourse like rats up a drainpipe!

Wider concerns have been raised across the county for areas with neighbourhood plans that are nearing completion. It’s feared that residents could face development on sites they’re in the process of choosing themselves, and then get lumbered with yet more by the council. Cllr Clewer is keen to see justice done in these communities.

No worries about that in Salisbury, eh, folks? We haven’t got a neighbourhood plan anywhere near completion yet because our parish councillors couldn’t be bothered to get cracking on one for years.