THE decision to hold a planning meeting to discuss 640 new Salisbury homes 35 miles away on the day before the General Election has been met with widespread public opposition.

Wiltshire Councillor for Harnham Brian Dalton slammed the decision to hold the Strategic Planning Committee on Wednesday, December 11 at 10.30am in Trowbridge - calling it “shameful” and “disgusting”.

The only item on the agenda is an application to build 640 homes at Netherhampton Road, Salisbury, which has previously been met with concerns from councillors and residents, who are worried about the impact on traffic.

Cllr Dalton said: “This is unacceptable.

“It seems like Wiltshire Council does not want any public from Harnham to attend.”

Cllr Dalton added: “It’s the only item on the agenda and it’s being held 35 miles away.

“I’m going to ask Wiltshire Council to reschedule the meeting, as this should be held in Salisbury and after Christmas.

“I see no justification for this meeting to be held in Trowbridge, especially as just one item is on the agenda, which is the Netherhampton Road application, which is a major application for Salisbury.

"This should be held more local, to enable residents to attend the meeting. And just why is it being held so close to Christmas, when residents have Christmas on their minds, or even just one day before the general election?”

The treasurer of Harnham Neighbourhood Association has accused Wiltshire Council of deliberately scheduling the meeting in Trowbridge so that people are unable to attend and voice objections. Bill Roper says the timing and location of the meeting “stinks”.

He added: “We are really up in arms about this. Our principle objection to the application is the sheer scale of it, and the lack of appropriate road infrastructure in the plans, but this decision about the meeting. Frankly, it stinks.”

“It’s in Trowbridge, at 10.30 in the morning, there are rail strikes on, it is two weeks before Christmas when people have other things to be doing. The majority of the people who want to get there, can’t.”

Councillor Paul Cunningham, former chairman of the Netherhampton Parish Council, also called the location and timing of the meeting “ridiculous”, and said only one member of the parish council is able to attend it.

James Craddock, Chairman of Netherhampton Parish Council, will tell the Strategic Planning Committee on Wednesday that they are “demanding” the plans be refused, adding: “This application is poorly conceived and unnecessary; and its impact is being hugely understated.”

In an email received by the Journal on Wednesday afternoon, Councillor Fleur de Rhé-Philipe, portfolio holder for strategic highways, said: “I am reluctant for us to move the location or date of the meeting, especially as it has become established that the Strategic Planning Committee meet in Trowbridge and the agenda and location have been published.

“I am of the opinion that we hold the meeting, on the date and in the location as planned, but that we offer a location in Salisbury where the debate will be screened and if any members of the public attending the screening in Salisbury wish to address the Committee, they can do so by video link.”

Councillor Richard Clewer, cabinet member for corporate services added: “Our schedule for meetings and the venues are planned well in advance and County Hall is a central venue particularly as we can have items from across the county.

“The upcoming application has been subject to wide consultation and these views will be taken into account and we are grateful to everyone for making their views known to us.”

The meeting will be held in the Council Chamber of the County Hall in Trowbridge, at 10.30am, on Wednesday, December 11.

View the planning application online at