Swindon Borough Council fear too much development around Royal Wootton Bassett will lead to a busy motorway junction to struggle to cope.

Wiltshire’s draft local plan will allocate space for 1,230 new homes and 6.9 hectares of employment land in the town.

A motion to Swindon Borough Council put forward by councillors on the southern and western edges of Swindon asked the cabinet member for strategic infrastructure Councillor Kevin Small to ‘strenuously object’ to Wiltshire Council’s draft local plan, because they feel it’s overloading the area around Royal Wootton Bassett.

Wiltshire’s draft local plan will allocate space for 1,230 new homes and 6.9 hectares of employment land, in the town

That motion was voted down and Cllr Small said: “The deadline for response has passed, but we have made a submission to the plan and it will reflect many of the views expressed in this chamber.”

That submission has been released to the Local Democracy Reporter, and while it is couched in the reserved language of council officers, it does express significant concerns about what Wiltshire’s plan suggests.

The submission says: “Swindon Borough Council is a neighbouring authority and the extent of housing employment development, infrastructure proposals and key strategy directions are likely to have an impact on and relationship to the Swindon Borough, plan-making and local authority services and facilities.

“Royal Wootton Bassett is within close proximity to the Swindon boundary and wider urban area and evidence presented in the plan indicates cross-over boundary issues in terms of how and where people access services and facilities.”

The borough council says it is making its submission as there is a legal ‘duty to co-operate’ and sets out its concerns.

It says the plan “does not pull together a cohesive policy for the town and surrounds which provides certainty over infrastructure delivery – some of this information is contained within more site-specific policies but detail is left hanging – such as a wider transport strategy".

“The economic strategy for the market town is focused upon the immediate edge of settlement locations but is silent on the locational advantage of the [town] for economic growth associated with the M4 Junction 16 area.

“Unplanned developments in this area may be difficult to manage to deliver a comprehensive approach to sustainable growth and infrastructure improvements."

Specifically, about the ability of Junction 16 to cope with the growth of Royal Wootton Bassett, the borough council’s submission says the two authorities have to work together, including tests on what impact could be seen “should unallocated employment site options within Wiltshire come forward”.

It suggests Wiltshire Council should “plan more positively for growth with the M4 corridor including Junction 16" and it concludes by saying there is more work needed, including between the two councils, before the plan can be submitted to the Planning Inspector for an examination.

Areas where the borough council wants to see more work include “the extent that further growth can be accommodated on transport networks at strategic locations such as M4 Junction 16, and the need to undertake further joint work particularly on the M4 corridor, Royal Wootton Basset area and land within the Swindon administrative area with regard to strategic economic growth, logistics and other economic sectors”.

The submission says Swindon would support a Wiltshire plan for more employment land near Junction 16 should the impact be assessed in accordance with Department for Transport advice, funding and the delivery mechanism being secured for improvements to the junction and as long as new developments do not prejudice “delivery of other planned growth”.

Wiltshire Council's cabinet member for Strategic Planning, Councillor Nick Botterill said: “While it would not be appropriate to comment on motions that are presented to other councils, it is important to note that the proposed junction 16 service station has been brought forward by developers, and is not included in the current Wiltshire Core Strategy or draft Wiltshire Local Plan.

“This proposal is a live planning application that will be processed in accordance with current local and national planning policies and planning law.

“As part of the Local Plan process, we have a duty to cooperate with neighbouring authorities. We have been working closely with Swindon Borough Council and other partners while compiling our draft Local Plan and we will continue to do so.”

The full Wiltshire Council draft local plan can be viewed on its website at Wiltshire.gov.uk.