SITES for future housing developments in the county have been agreed by Wiltshire councillors.

Their draft Wiltshire Housing Site Allocations Plan will now go to the Secretary of State for further examination.

The plan will help ensure the council maintains a five-year housing land supply in each of Wiltshire’s three Housing Market Areas up to 2026.

The overall level of growth proposed for allocation in the draft plan is 2,594 homes - with 1,400 homes across 13 sites in the north and west, 270 homes in one eastern site, and 924 homes across seven sites in the south.

The plan builds on the framework already provided by the Wiltshire Core Strategy for where development should take place.

Much of the housing growth for Wiltshire has already been delivered or identified and the proposed plan brings forward further sites, designed to ensure the scale of growth appropriate for Wiltshire is managed and directed in the most sustainable locations.

A 10-week consultation last year attracted 3,370 comments and 970 consultees.

The draft plan was presented to the May cabinet but was deferred to allow for Wiltshire councilllors and town and parish council to consider the documents including the schedule of proposed changes.

Toby Sturgis, cabinet member for planning at Wiltshire Council, said:“This plan will also help ensure that development takes place in the most appropriate locations in Wiltshire and provides a strong defence against any speculative development applications.”

“We are now in the next phase of this key planning process when the report, along with the feedback we’ve received, goes to the Secretary of State for closer examination.

“All local planning authorities have to plan for their housing needs so that is has sufficient homes for local communities now and in the future.

The Secretary of State will appoint an inspector who will consider the plan alongside the council’s schedule of proposed changes and all the submitted evidence, including the representations received through the formal consultation undertaken in 2017.

These will be independently and robustly examined in terms of legal compliance and soundness.

Once adopted, the draft plan will form part of the development plan for Wiltshire.

In preparing the plan, the council engaged with infrastructure providers including education and health to understand the facilities that will be required to support the proposals.

The council also has a Wiltshire School Places Strategy to ensure sufficient school places are available for the future.

The draft plan also reviews existing boundaries around many of Wiltshire's settlements to ensure these are up to date.