Chippenham Urban Expansion HIF Bid
This page provides WCA members with information relevant to the Chippenham Urban Expansion HIF Bid.
Wiltshire Council's £75M bid was approved in principle, but opposition has been mounting and the funds are not committed by Homes England yet. This massive scheme is for a new road around Chippenham meeting the A350 at both ends, to "unlock" prime farmland including irreplaceable County Farms for up to 7,500 new homes and 1M sq ft of commercial development.
We feel it is unsustainable development, making for high car dependency, and will worsen Wiltshire's carbon budget instead of helping the county become carbon neutral by 2030. There are many alternatives for low-car or car-free housing in our towns and public transport corridors. Wiltshire Council should be pursuing these and challenging the government's inflated housing targets instead.
There is more to come here, watch this space... and please email us any further suggestions using the button below.
Future Chippenham Consultation Responses
Convenor of the WCA Transport Topic Group, Andrew Nicolson, has obtained via FoI request, the full responses from the Future Chippenham consultation.
The file is available here, which will allow us to understand the balance of feeling, and issues that mean the most to the local people who responded.
A list of the organisations who provided responses is here.
We ask that you use this information, which obviously contains people's personal responses, sensitively.
Recent Updates (Feb - June 2021)
Following it's rejections of both the Local Plan Review development proposals and Future Chippenham Road scheme proposals (meetings on 25th Feb and 4th March), the newly constituted Chippenham Town Council has reaffirmed its opposition to both at its annual meeting on 19th May 2021.
In February, the MP for Chippenham Michelle Donelan wrote to Phillip Whitehead (then Leader of Wiltshire Council) to declare concerns about the Future Chippenham scheme and associated development, and threaten the withdrawal of her support for the HIF Bid. The letter and Whitehead's response can be viewed here. Donelan later responded again to say she intends to work through issues with the MHCLG minister and continue to represent constituents' concerns.
A motion passed at Chippenham Full Council on 16th June 2021, resulted in the sending of a letter to Wiltshire Council's Chief Executive, copying Michele Donelan, Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for MHCLG), and Homes England. The Press release and letter can be viewed here.
Wiltshire Council are terming the road and its potential to 'unlock' the land to the East and South of Chippenham, the 'Future Chippenham' project.
The consultation, which closed on 12th March, asked for responses to 'three road route options for the proposed distributor road', but interestingly, did not give a 'no road' option. The 'Future Chippenham' page is here, where you can find details and recordings of webinars, and the consultation form itself. There is a highly polished 'You Tube' video here depicting the road options, and featuring some very questionable claims about green, and other, benefits.
At its extraordinary meeting on Thursday 4th March Chippenham Town Council agreed to respond 'that they did not support the proposals for any road in Chippenham'. Full press release here.
Chippenham and the Local Plan Review
Wiltshire Council's Local Plan Review consultation period closed on 9th March, but you can still view the documentation online.
The draft Local Plan document for Chippenham is linked here, and Site Selection report here. The presentation given at the consultation event for Chippenham is linked here. Housing targets and the 'preferred sites' presented in the combined documentation pave the way for the 'Future Chippenham' developments, if agreed.
At it's extraordinary meeting on 25th February, Chippenham Town Council unanimously agreed to reject the proposed local plan for Chippenham. The full press release is here.
The CAUSE Wiltshire - Campaign Against Urban Sprawl to the East (of Chippenham) - website is linked here.
This includes progress and support for the campaign to date, key background documents and maps, information and reports on the ecological importance of the site, and a useful critique of the draft local plan, under the 'Take Action' page.
There is also a petition to sign and share as a first, quick action.
HIF Bid Documents and Appendices released under FOI
An introduction to the Housing Infrastructure Fund is here
The bid submitted in March 2019 which was successfully awarded the £75M of funding to build the infrastructure for the 7,500 houses in prospect is available (minus appendices, and slightly redacted) towards the bottom of the Future Chippenham page.
Some appendices obtained via FOI request are available by following links below, under Appendix number. A full list of the Appendices is here.
Local Context - Chippenham's Neighbourhood Plan
The website for Chippenham's emerging Neighbourhood Plan is linked here.
There are useful documents linked from the 'Reference Library' page. A few are also linked below:
The Neighbourhood plan Steering Group and advisers have also produced the report in this Agenda pack (see pages 19-37) to Chippenham Town Council to inform responses to the Local Plan Review Consultation.
2015 Housing Sites Review
The following documents from 2015 are still relevant to developing the proposed sites.
The Residents Association of Tytherton Lucas in Bremhill Parish (between the rivers Avon and Marden) commissioned this damning review by a Devizes consultancy of the landscape and visual impact of the Chippenham Eastern Expansion Area proposed by Wiltshire Council but thrown out by the independent Inspector. It concluded, "Development within the flood risk areas or settings of the Rivers Marden and Avon will not be acceptable. The extensive... proposals will have significant adverse landscape and visual effects and are not acceptable and should be rejected" and "if a strategic allocation is to be made, it is recommended that proposals for the Eastern Link Road are deleted."
Flooding is and will be a big issue in the low-lying land South and East of Chippenham. This 2015 witness statement gives detailed evidence and says, "Developing to the East of Chippenham is raising the odds on Chippenham Town and Monkton Park flooding and causing serious damage to property, and putting lives at risk. The evaluation by Wiltshire Council of the flood risk to Chippenham and upstream has lacked evidence, and is therefore unsound..."