Will this all lead to a Spurt Mead Judicial Review?(June 22, 2014)
A Warminster Town Council record of their Planning Advisory Committee at which the first planning application by HPH and Hab for housing on a water meadow by the River Wylye and outside current planning policies was refused sees local councillors ask for the spotlight to directed at the actions of all councillors in favour.
"I believe that Cllr. Magnus Macdonald has committed the most serious cardinal sin that an elected member of a local authority can be complained about," says Warminster town councillor Paul Macdonald.
"I am reliably informed that on every other planning application including another one on that potentially disastrous day for Spurt Mead from Selwood Housing this councillor as a paid director has declared his interest and not taken part.
"So why did he not do so with this planning application supported by a fellow director at Selwood Housing who is not a councillor?
"We know all too well at Warminster Town Council that Selwood Housing are very closely linked with this project to run a coach and horses or the modern equivalent a JCB and pile driver through very proper planning policies.
"In the minutes of our advisory committee meeting that allows us to have statutory role in the planning process the involvement of Selwood Housing is clear to the members of public present.
Selwwod Director Speaks at Town Council
"It is reported that the 'Development Director for Selwood Housing spoke and this is what he said," adds Paul.
'Selwood is one of the major providers of affordable housing in this area. 'We have looked at this development closely with the
affordable and self build available. The main points that I would like to make are the community benefits that this development would bring to Warminster.
A home and the affordability of housing in the UK and certainly in Wiltshire is one of the biggest challenges we currently have. To be fair, it’s not always apparent unless it directly or indirectly affects us. But there is a huge hidden need for homes. This proposed development will be a major help in providing homes of which 9 would be affordable and a further 7 would be self build which is another affordable way for people to get on the housing ladder.
In the Warminster area, including surrounding villages there are over 780 households currently in housing need. That figure reflects those for whom home ownership is simply not an option at this point. It doesn’t include those that would expect to be able to get on the housing ladder but simply can’t get a mortgage. The government’s latest initiatives are really welcomed but they still don’t address the
fundamental problems of mortgage availability.
The self build part of this proposal really is a great affordable way to help those with the right trades, initiative and self motivation to get a home and on the ladder.
Affordability for homes is not just the caricature it is sometimes depicted to be. Within the statistics I quoted before there are households in real need be it the dinner lady who was housed, who has experienced all the problems of private landlords, particularly security of having a home or a former army personnel who are increasingly looking for affordable housing as they leave the forces.Many service personnel with their discipline and skills could be great beneficiaries of self build.
Just in summary, I really do appreciate that any development will be controversial but I ask the committee to really look at the community benefits from this proposed development
Self build is about helping households who have the means to help themselves get on the housing ladder. The proposed affordable homes, they themselves will help many households whom you won’t see this evening. Finally its developments like this that will bring people to Warminster, retain new forming households and younger people in Warminster and they will spend their money in
the town and on the High Street.'
Overturn Planning Decision
"So it would be clear to any member of the public that Selwood directors are completely in support of this as a social housing provider desperate to find new opportunities for their agenda," says Paul.
"Cllr. Magnus Macdonald actions need to be severely reprimanded and the planning decision overturned.
"There should be a judicial review of this if that is not the result.
"And that judicial review would I believe include the clear pre-determination that was shown by four town councillors at a later planning advisory committee meeting that also saw one councillor who had attended in September vote in favour after a private meeting with the applicants."