RESIDENTS opposed to a “vandalistic” woodland homes scheme in Salisbury have set up a committee to fight it.

Headed by chairman Martin Smith, the East Harnham locals want Wiltshire Council planners to turn down the proposals, which would see more than 130 trees felled to create the new 13-home community near Bishops Drive.

Currently, around a dozen residents are part of the committee, all with their own set tasks.

“There are many people opposed to this development,” said Mr Smith, pictured below.

“The major objection is that it takes away almost half of the woodland.

“In some respects, their proposal is very laudable as it provides more affordable homes for the area, but the issue here is that in doing this they’re removing a lot of trees.

“But, from a Wiltshire Council local plan point of view, there’s actually no more affordable homes, so this is just a speculative venture.”

As reported, proposals to develop the woodland site have been rebuffed for almost three decades.

However, applicant PNH Properties believes its plan to be different, with illustrations showing the homes would have “living roofs”, and would incorporate the woodland – as well as its trees, into the new neighbourhood.

But, Mr Smith added: “The problem is that it is an ill-conceived plan; to cut down half of the trees in the woodland is a very vandalistic approach.”

The local has also raised concerns at the way the homes will be fitted onto the site, as a suggestion has been tabled that a crane may be needed.

This is because the homes will be “modular”, which means they are created away from the site to certain specifications and then brought in.

Nevertheless, the applicant says it wants to use the site to “increase biodiversity”, not destroy it.

In its planning statement to the council, the applicant also noted that “the woodland is to be reinstated as native woodland offering maximum benefit to wildlife, whilst contributing to the corridors and wildlife refuge lacking south of the northern scarp of Harnham Hill”.

A woodland management scheme is also proposed if the plans are approved.

Currently, the proposals are in the consultation phase, with public thoughts sought until May 9.

To have a say, visit citing reference: 19/02434/OUT.