Comment on 20/00379/OUT.

How to comment on a planning application

Yesterday, more than a thousand people read our posts about planning application 20/00379/OUT.

Many of those readers expressed disapproval of the plans, in particular people have asked why all the planned development is in green field sites around the rural edge of the town, while there are derelict brown field sites in its centre. People are disturbed that the town’s population is out-growing its amenities. For many, and this is particularly worrying, these two posts have been the very first indication that the fields at Southwick Court are being considered for development.

People are angry because they feel powerless; they feel that once the big-time developers and their investors have put their names to a plan, it is a done deal, that the feelings and opinions of ordinary people who walk their dogs in those fields, the feelings of the man on the Clapham omnibus, don’t and won’t count.

This is not always so: we do have the power to protest, to object, to raise awkward questions. We can point out the errors, the omissions, and the parts of the plan which seem to us to run counter to the regulations, or which don’t seem to meet wider policy directives.

We can take the part of the wildlife, the environment, the bats, the water voles, and the dragonflies. We can, and should, question the findings of ecologists and arboriculturalists employed by the developers; we would be failing our park’s biodiversity if we did not. We can pressure the county for unbiased and impartial assessments of the site before any decisions are made.

There are three ways to comment on a planning application:
The first is to use Wiltshire Council’s Comment on a planning application page; it’s clunky and difficult to format but it does work.
The second is to email developmentmangement@wiltshire.gov.uk; we have found it best to send our comment as an attachment or a pdf.
The third is to write to:

Development Management
Planning Department
Wiltshire Council, County Hall
Bythesea Road
Trowbridge, BA14 8JN

The planning department’s telephone number is: 0300 456 0114

These are Wiltshire Council’s rules; it’s best to stick to them:

* Comments should not be of a discriminatory, defamatory or libellous nature. Any comments received like this will not be considered.
* Please include the planning application reference number and your postal address. We cannot consider comments that are anonymous or that do not include your address.
* If you comment in writing on a planning application, letters will be scanned and published on our website so that you can view the details.
* Please make sure that you only provide information, including your personal information, you are happy for other people to view.
* If you supply other people’s personal information, please make sure that you have their permission. We do not edit consultation responses unless there is a very special case to do so that is considered to be in the public interest.

We will try to keep you informed: watch this space.

The pictures were taken in the park by DKG

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