Outline planning permission for 50 new homes on agricultural land just outside Melksham in Wiltshire, all of which will be affordable, has been granted on appeal.

The proposals, for housing and the formation of an access with associated works at land west of Semington Road, Melksham, were approved by the Planning Inspectorate following a public inquiry in March.

The appeal was made by Terra Strategic against the refusal of planning permission by Wiltshire Council.

The Planning Inspector in his summing up referenced the council’s five reasons for refusal, number two of which was the ‘effect of the proposals on the landscape character and appearance of the area’.

Melksham Masterplan

Katie Machin, Environment Director for Pegasus Group, acted as expert witness on behalf of client Terra, led by barrister Thea Osmund-Smith of No5 Barristers Chambers. She gave detailed evidence in relation to landscape and visual matters, part of which specifically considered the impact on the separation between settlements.

She said: “Pegasus Group’s landscape planning specialists are often called to give evidence on behalf of clients seeking to appeal decisions. In this case, it was important that my evidence provided a full and detailed analysis of the role and function of the appeal site on the southern edge of Melksham in landscape and visual terms and I’m pleased that the Inspector shared my view that the impact of the proposals was localised.”

The Inspector, in his report, said: “…the level of harm arising would be localised by its relationship to surrounding development, the configuration of the site, its limited extension west within the main field boundary and the strength of existing boundary hedgerows which could allow the base for effective landscape mitigation. I therefore conclude that there would be modest/negligible harm to the landscape character and appearance of the area arising from the appeal scheme.”

Site layout courtesy of Terra Strategic.

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