CROWDS of people filled Salisbury Library on Tuesday afternoon as Wiltshire Council started consultation on plans for thousands of new homes in and around Salisbury. 

The informal session, which ran from 3pm til 7pm, gave people a chance to meet council officers and to find out more about the plan which details housing, infrastructure, and land across Wiltshire over the next 15 years.

Seven sites around Salisbury have been provisionally allocated for development including 350 new homes close to the Portway site near Old Sarum, 220 houses on land north of Downton Road, and 265 dwellings on land south of Harnham.

At Tuesday's consultation session, which the Journal, attended, many residents expressed concerns that the new developments would increase traffic and stretch existing resources. 

Salisbury Journal: At the Library for the Local Plan ConsultationAt the Library for the Local Plan Consultation (Image: Newsquest)

Councillor Gary Peacock from Redlynch Parish said: "I am here because I am concerned about how the plan may affect our Parish. We are right beside Downton and so it is massively green belt and agricultural.

"Is this a diktat or how much working with people from the villages will there be?

He said: "I worry about resources, shops are closing, schools are fairly crowded and with families coming in, are we going to have the amenities? How much will be affordable housing? People can't afford to stay in the villages now." 

Salisbury Journal: Councillor Gary PeacockCouncillor Gary Peacock (Image: Newsquest)

Catherine Gay attended the consultation because she has concerns about the Church Road and Laverstock development. 

She said: "I don't live there any more but my mum has lived there for about 60 years. It is one field and I want it to stay as it is for wildlife reasons but more than that, it is going to generate so much traffic. There is already a lot of traffic because there are three schools. 

Catherine added:  "Laverstock is only supposed to be used for filling houses not for new developments. Soon there won't be any green spaces left. What's wrong with just leaving it as it is, a green lung? Laverstock is a rat run and there are air quality and safety issues."

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Salisbury Journal: Catherine GayCatherine Gay (Image: Newsquest)

Dave and Sandie Freeman expressed great concerns about the proposed plans to build on the fields near to their house. 

Sandie said: "We live on the Harvard Heights estate on East Harnham and heard they are planning to build on half the field behind us and it is arable land. We are worried about the environmental damage. We just don't think this is sustainable."

Salisbury Journal: Dave and Sandy FreemanDave and Sandy Freeman (Image: Newsquest)Read more: Salisbury City Council considers legal action

Dave said: "We have skylarks and badgers, birds of prey, owls and bats and once the arable land is gone, it's gone. How many trees would they have to cut down? How much traffic will there be? 

"It will also affect emergency services. At the moment, the traffic tails back. I don't care how much they tweak the gyratory, it won't help and where are people going to work?"

One couple from West Harnham who did not wish to be named said: "People from the new development will allegedly be walking to school but that's not going to happen.  There are no shops on Netherhampton Road so people will go up to Southampton Road which is already clogged. 

"It is going to really affect us. We can't get out onto the road now. We just hope they are taking into account the number of cars on the road. People need to live somewhere but they need to sort the infrastructure out - doctors, dentists, and schools."