WE really do need to look at the possibility of building a self-sufficient new town, or at least a village or two, in South Wiltshire.

It’s not Cloud Cuckoo Land. I’m not that far out on a limb here. I’ve talked about it with John Glen, for example, and he agrees with me that we cannot keep indefinitely tacking large housing developments onto every corner of Salisbury.

Our MP prefers not to get involved in individual planning disputes, and that’s fair enough, so I’m not dragging him into one.

Besides, it’s not really a dispute because the winners on this occasion have already been decided.

They are Bovis Homes and the owners of the farmland alongside the Netherhampton Road cattle market which is destined to be developed with at least 640 homes plus a primary school and possibly some light industrial building or, if that doesn’t find any takers, possibly a few hundred more homes in the longer term.

Some readers who bumped into me at Tuesday’s public exhibition about this project were urging me to head up a campaign against it.

I hate to disappoint them, but it would be a losing battle, given that the site is a strategically designated one.

If they don’t like it, they should stop re-electing the bunch who decide these things up in Trowbridge.

It’s not like me to give up, but ….. I give up.

I’d rather devote my energy to asking why we don’t get more imaginative thinking emanating from Wiltshire, the planning authority.

Have they just goggled at the enormity of the building targets imposed on them by the government, and decided to take the easy, high-volume greenfield route?

I suspect so. They have ruled out any real growth in our rural areas as ‘unsustainable’.

I think they mean that no-one’s going to replace all our villages’ lost facilities, and that country roads couldn’t cope.

If they believe that the alternative – leaving families and commuters to sit in or walk alongside ever-lengthening queues for the Harnham Gyratory and other bottlenecks, breathing in exhaust fumes – is more ‘sustainable’ they’re even madder than I thought!

Despite the thousands of protests lodged about this particular scheme over the years, no data on air quality or future traffic volume in Harnham were available on Tuesday.

Why not? Those have always been the main reasons why people have opposed it so strongly.

Without information being provided in good time, how can opposition be co-ordinated?

Not that it’ll get anywhere, as I said.

What right do we have to inflict on our children – the ones at the Harnham schools, the ones expected to travel from all round the city to the new primary on this development, the ones whose homes line this narrow main road or the many small roads that feed onto it – a life of even worse, entirely avoidable pollution?

Salisbury already has three air quality management areas that are officially causing major concerns for public health – in the city centre, Wilton Road and London Road.

It will shortly have a fourth. It’s called Harnham.