Campaigners are stepping up efforts to stop plans for hundreds of new homes.

Sustainable Amesbury has launched a new website to aid its campaign to protect greenfield areas from four new development zones - Viney’s Farm, High Post North and South, and Solstice Park.

The group is encouraging local residents to have their say. But ironically the campaign is being spearheaded by two property developers.

Miles d’Arcy-Irvine, the developer who brought Solstice Park to Amesbury, is involved in the Viney’s Farm proposal.

A total of 1,700 new houses are proposed for Viney’s Farm and High Post South which threatens to “more than double the size of Amesbury at a stroke”. High Post North and Solstice Park are set to be employment land.

Salisbury Journal: Four different zones near Amesbury would see developments. Picture: Google EarthFour different zones near Amesbury would see developments. Picture: Google Earth

Simon Connolly, one of the founders of Sustainable Amesbury and a partner in a property development company for 25 years, said: “It would ruin a landscape which is pretty special.

“We’re not for one moment suggesting that no new houses should be produced but the numbers being proposed vastly exceed any kind of sensible number.”

Mr Connolly, defending his role, said: “We build on brownfield sites, old industrial land and repurposed office building.

“We are not against all developments, we realise that housing needs to be built but there’s a time and a place for everything.”

In response to being asked whether he would care if these proposals weren’t happening on his doorstep, Mr Connolly said: “We know about this because it’s in our locality. I’m not in a position to comment on something being built elsewhere because I don’t know the lay of the land.” 

The proposals have not reached the public consultation stage yet but the campaigners say they are starting early “to try and stop the council”.

The campaign has sent four reports to Wiltshire Council and has legal backing from a lawyer funded by donations from local residents.

Guy Leech, another founder of Sustainable Amesbury, is also a property developer. Responding to the potential hypocrisy in opposing the plans, Mr Leech said: “Not all developers support all developments.

“Brownfield sites in the city centre near transport interchanges are completely different from developing on rural areas and world heritage sites next to protected rivers.”

Raising his concerns, Mr Leech added: “The A345 is already at 100% capacity, there aren’t enough medical facilities and neither of the two nearby secondary schools have a sixth form.” 

Viney’s Farm borders the River Avon, which is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Mr Connolly said: “You can’t just plonk 1,200 houses right next to that kind of environment and expect it to have no impact.”

Salisbury Journal: The River Avon runs through Amesbury. Picture: Sustainable AmesburyThe River Avon runs through Amesbury. Picture: Sustainable Amesbury

Another concern is that too many houses are being built in Wiltshire as the council delivered over 140% of its target between 2018-2021 and infrastructure is not being upgraded to support this.

Wiltshire Council’s current local plan extends to 2026, a spokesperson said: “We need to plan ahead and ensure new land can come forward to provide homes and jobs for our growing communities when it is needed.”

The new website allows people to directly object to any or all of the proposals. So far, 212 objections have been received on the new website and over 1,450 people have signed a petition to stop plans for 1,200 houses on Salisbury Road.

Sustainable Amesbury suggests the disused quarry in Quidhampton as an alternative site for housing as it has “no other use”.

Salisbury Journal: Quidhampton's disused quarry. Picture: Google EarthQuidhampton's disused quarry. Picture: Google Earth

Upcoming Sustainable Amesbury reports include housing numbers, ecology and archaeology on Viney’s Farm, and transport at High Post.

Wiltshire Council is aiming to publish a draft plan towards the end of this year at which point there will be the opportunity, through a full public consultation, to comment further on the proposals.

What do you think about the plans? Contact us at newsdesk@

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