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  • Writer's pictureAdam Gilmore

Neighbourhood Plan Update

Open Meetings

Since the open meetings, we’ve been reading all the feedback and the notes we took. There were 80 attendees to the open meetings, and we received 38 feedback forms. 68% of forms were from BH residents, 24% were from WB and 5% from UF.

Generally, people agreed with the facilities list (87%), Assets of Community value (84%), Non-Designated Heritage Assets (76%), Local Green Spaces (82%), Key Views (81%).

33 attendees gave the number of homes that they thought were needed in BH, the average (mean) was 47 and the median was 43.

9 people said they wanted to downsize, with 2 of those saying they would move out of their village. 4 people said they had non-dependent children living with them who wanted their own home in the villages. The factors stopping this were availability, price, and the need for smaller homes.

Speeding through the villages and A4361 was a common safety priority, as well as the need for additional or improved footpaths and cycle routes.

You can find the more detailed analysis here - “Feedback Analysis”.

Mark Hodgson distributed a note at the Open Meeting on the 24th September and to some houses in Broad Hinton. The note contained some feedback, comments, and questions – we appreciate the effort and detail that has gone into them and welcome it.

As the note was distributed in a public meeting, and with Mark’s support, we wanted to publish our replies. Mark’s original note is highlighted below with the Steering Groups reply in italics.



The following summary covers some key points concerning how any new housing developments could affect our community which you may find useful as input for these meetings.

1 AECOM have estimated the need for 39 additional affordable homes. Affordable homes are classified as housing for sale or rent for those people whose needs are not met by the market. In other words, housing which is subsidised by the local authority, housing associations, Government or other third-party organisations.

Affordable housing is funded by central government (Homes England), via Housing Grants or by home builders, via Section 106 orders. Affordable homes, for sale or rent, are available to people with an annual household income of less than £80,000 per year.

Homes for affordable and social rent are developed and managed by registered providers such as housing associations or Community Land Trusts.

2. Affordable houses have to represent 40% of any new housing development. This means that the total number of properties built could be approximately 100. This could represent an increase of approximately 40% in the size of Broad Hinton.

Any new development of over 10 homes must have at least 40% affordable homes, though this is being changed to 5 homes in the emerging Wiltshire Council Local Plan.

The AECOM Housing Needs Analysis identified Broad Hinton as requiring 31 affordable homes (4 to rent, 27 to buy). There are many reasons why 100 properties wouldn’t be appropriate – % growth of the village and land availability being two.

3. The new Wiltshire County Council Local Plan covering the period up to 2038 has a ZERO housing allocation requirement for Broad Hinton. There is a theoretical possibility that speculative development could still happen in the village but this is unlikely given that Wiltshire County Council has many other development opportunities, in more suitable locations, elsewhere.

Wiltshire Council identify sites for development in Principal Settlements and Market Towns as part of the Area Strategy. Wiltshire Council does not allocate sites for development in Local Service Centres and Large Villages, this is left to Neighbourhood Plans. Outside of sites allocated by Wiltshire Council and Neighbourhood Plans, the responsibility is on landowners and developers to identify, plan and deliver sites.

The Swindon HMA has a requirement to build 563 homes in the rural area that have not been allocated to settlements. Given this information, and Wiltshire Councils failure to meet its housing needs (Five Year Housing Land Supply), we would suggest that the possibility of speculative development is more likely than maybe thought. A robust, evidence-based Neighbourhood Plan would help to protect the community from more than we need being built. The emerging Rural Housing Requirements 2023 policy for Broad Hinton states “While the residual requirement to be planned for is 0, this would not preclude neighbourhood planning groups from carrying out their own assessments of local needs and potentially allocating site(s)s should a local need be identified”.

See emerging Wiltshire Local Plan

4. The Village Questionnaire which many of us completed in September 2022 stated that 85% of residents felt that we should build 25 houses or less in Broad Hinton. This number could be lower if the Questionnaire was run again given the latest Wiltshire County Council figure of zero.

The questionnaire is just one input into working out what our housing needs are. In the recent Open Meetings, we discussed the demographic trends, requirements, and needs. The challenge is to come to a figure that enables us to have the types and number of homes needed to sustain our community.

The recent open meeting feedback we’ve collected would indicate that the community believe we need on average 47 homes, with a median number of 43. Accepting that this is a relatively small sample and from engaged residents.

5. Out of the seven aspects shown in The Questionnaire covering what attracted residents to living in our Parish, number one is "the rural atmosphere" and number two is "a village feel". The "local amenities" came last.

Yes, these are what attracted people to come to live here and is not surprising as we are rural villages. Number two was “Village feel – community and a safe environment”. The village feel is not only due to the people and homes, but also facilities such as churches, schools, halls and pubs that provide opportunities to come together as a community. See questionnaire results.

Design will be an important part of the plan and future development does not mean the dilution of the rural feel. When the Steering Group assessed the character of Broad Hinton, we believed that the developments at Pitchens End (45) and Fortunes Field (31) have enhanced the village, providing new types of homes, without impacting the rural character of the village.

6. The sites identified by AECOM are not particularly suited to housing development given that;

A) Our village sits in an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and any large scale development would impact the landscape, character and visual qualities of our village.

B) There is a working farm with farm traffic and a slurry pit in close proximity.

Yes, the North Wessex Downs AONB Management Plan states that major development (10 or more houses) should not be permitted unless in the public interest. A developer could build up to 9 homes, perhaps on one of the sites identified in the Site Assessment process, which would avoid the AONB objection. A number of these smaller schemes could be developed over time.

Impact on the landscape, character and visual amenity will be assessed by a Strategic Environmental Assessmentcarried out by independent consultants as part of the Neighbourhood Plan drafting. Transport and safety issues are considered as part of any planning application and conditions can be applied by the Local Planning Authority to mitigate.

7. While additional housing would support increased usage of our existing village amenities, their future is not dependent upon this. Broad Hinton has large and expanding conurbations nearby which can provide significant custom for our amenities.

Then parking becomes more of an issue than it is currently. Parking for the school and village hall is currently inadequate. There are likely to be plenty of amenities in those expanding conurbations competing for the same custom. It’s not just about custom, but also residents to help manage these amenities.

8. Part of the justification for additional housing is the desire for new amenities, in particular a community run village shop and workspace/cafe hub. A new workspace/ café would provide additional competition to our pubs, restaurant and village hall. A shop would need to be commercially viable to succeed and in the past 5 years only an average of 14 shops per year across the UK opened under community ownership. Also, a Neighbourhood Plan can provide supporting planning policies for a shop/hub, however, to manage the setting up and running of a shop/hub would require a separate community group, with many volunteers, which cannot be guaranteed. Finally, would the new tenants of The Crown/Arkells be interested in running a shop as a possible alternative?

The most recent Plunkett report showed that 12 new community shops opened in 2021, with 407 currently trading and a 92% long term survival rate.

To set up a community shop, a Community Benefit Society would be formed with community shareholders, as is The Winterbourne. The CBS would then decide where a shop would be located and what services it offered. There are many options for the location and services. The Neighbourhood Plan can provide supporting planning policies for this.

Alex La Roche and Adam Gilmore have visited four community shops in Wiltshire, talked to staff and management, analysed the demographics of the villages, shop locations, product and services, and proximity to supermarkets. These communities are very similar to our own and the question should be, what makes us different that a community shop would not work? The recent Open Meetings have resulted in 11 volunteers to help assess the feasibility.

9. House building of the scale being considered would;

A) Create additional traffic through our village on small roads, with awkward junctions, which are not designed for this.

B) Bring disruption to our peaceful village atmosphere during a prolonged

building spell.

C) Possibly impact house prices across the village in a negative way.

Development can be phased over the lifetime of the Neighbourhood Plan (2038) to minimise disruption. Infrastructure requirements to support development are paid for by developers via Section 106 orders.

The price of market housing is driven by supply and demand. House prices increase due to low supply and/or high demand.

The analysis that has been carried out by AECOM suggests we need a mixture of market and affordable housing. The types of homes identified are of a different type and tenure to the majority of existing homes in the community, therefore the increase in supply of the types and tenure of housing we are proposing, would not add to the supply of the existing types of housing.

The AECOM analysis also looked at demand. The forecast demand for the number, type and tenure of houses in a reasonable proposal would still outweigh supply.

A recent study by the London School of Economics found that smaller developments do not negatively impact existing house prices. The house prices tend to follow the wider trends.

The demand is affected not just by number of people looking for housing in an area, but by the environment and facilities supporting a community (shops, schools, churches, pubs, halls etc…) – a vibrant community increases demand.

10. The make up of the population within any village goes through different cycles. We have been experiencing an ageing population, however, as older members of our community leave the village they will naturally be replaced by a younger population and families.

This is not supported by Census data and AECOM demographic forecasting. Due to the lack of smaller and affordable homes, younger people and families are currently priced out of our community. When existing homes do become available, they are often purchased by older people, which has led to the demographic changes evidenced in the Census data.

A neighbourhood Plan is put to a referendum which all the residents are entitled to vote on after The Plan has been agreed in principal by all of the appropriate planning authorities. This means that the adoption of the Neighbourhood Plan is extremely likely to happen if the vote is in favour of it.

The proposed plan must be approved by the Parish Council, Wiltshire Council (the Local Planning Authority) in consultation with the community and statutory consultees, then approved by a planning inspector.

The final approval is by the community in a referendum. Only if passed by the community in a referendum does it become “made” and part of the Wiltshire Council development plan.


We welcome all and any feedback, as it helps us shape our Neighbourhood Plan. Please email or speak to one of the Steering Group if you want to share feedback or just talk about the plan.


Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group


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