A FORMER youth centre is being turned into five homes after the proposal was giving the green light by planning chiefs.

Councillors from Wiltshire Council’s Southern Area Planning Committee approved the application for the demolition of existing unused building in Wilton Road, owned by Wiltshire Council, and construction of five homes.

The homes include a terrace of three, three bedroom homes and a pair of two bedroom semi-detached properties with eight parking spaces, two for each property, at the rear of the site, which is located on the corner of Wilton Road and New Zealand Avenue.

It is currently occupied by a vacant existing building with access for vehicles from New Zealand Avenue.

Resident, Benji Goehl, raised concerns over the development, which was in a air quality management area and questioned why no air quality assessment had been carried out.

He asked why it was not “mandated” that parking bays were not “future proofed” in terms of provision for electric vehicles.

“Given this is a Wiltshire Council development and that is it also Wiltshire Council’s key strategic objective to address climate change these plans could really be more ambitious,” added Mr Goehl.

A plan to build six homes on the site was previously refused over impact on highway safety, impact to the character and appearance of the area and loss of a mining bee habitat.

Councillor Chris Devine said: “It seems to me an evidently sensible development. It doesn’t look too over cramped. My only concern is I would have liked to have seen a visitors parking space but Highways did pick up on that. But given where it is you can park up along the road.”

He added: “We may have a climate emergency but I really don’t think that that can be dealt with at this particular level with a couple of houses.”

Cllr Devine was also concerned about the mining bees and asked that officers made sure planning conditions protected their habitat during construction.

He said it was a “good use” of the land and it would “fit in well”.

Councillor Sven Hocking said: “This is a Wiltshire Council project and we have declared a climate emergency, whether you agree with that or not is not relevant, but we should be taking a bit of a lead in terms of this and there is no reason at all why there should not be a condition on this to put at least some PV panels on the roof to make it a slightly more economical dwelling. I think the council should take a bit of a leap and should do something.”

The application was unanimously approved, subject to conditions.