Trowbridge development to continue after brief setback

By Nick Batten on 9 May, 2024

The major redevelopment plans for the former Bowyer’s factory in Trowbridge were recently reconsidered and re-approved by Wiltshire Council at a planning meeting after changes were made to NPPF rules (National Planning Policy Framework).

Developer Innox Mills’ hybrid planning bid was first submitted to the council in April 2021 and proposed up to 284 new homes on the derelict site, which closed in 2008.

On 29th November, the Strategic Planning Committee voted to grant planning permission, subject to the completion of an S106 legal agreement, which set out conditions for the development, such as the provision of affordable housing and a sufficient choice of school places to meet the increased need.

According to the council, work has commenced on this legal agreement, but has not yet been completed, so planning permission has not been officially issued.

Because of this, Wiltshire Council is obliged to take into account the revised National Planning Policy Framework, which was adjusted in December 2023.These changes mean that Wiltshire Council must demonstrate a minimum of a four-year supply for new housing, which is a reduction from the previous minimum five-year supply.

The proposal went back to the Strategic Planning Committee at a planning meeting on 17th April.

Cllr Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, explained, “The application was initially considered acceptable, subject to a S106 agreement, at the Strategic Planning Committee in November last year.  

“However, following the changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in December, and the council being required to demonstrate only a four-year housing land supply, it was considered necessary to refer the scheme back to advise committee members of the NPPF changes and to confirm that the proposal remained acceptable on that basis.

“The application was duly reconsidered and approved at the Strategic Planning Committee meeting held on 17th April. This means that the S106 legal process will now continue, with the planning permission issued once that process is concluded satisfactorily.

“This comprehensive approach to development will deliver significant benefits for residents, visitors and traders alike and enables us to improve the town’s housing, commercial and cultural offer.”

A spokesperson for Innox Mills told TBE, “Because of the new NPPF rules, Wiltshire Council have been going through some of their bigger schemes and sending them back to committee to see if they were still happy with them.

“As a result, they turned down a few projects they had previously given the go ahead – but this one was immediately approved. It was just a formality – there were no deeper reasons as to why it went back to committee.”     

Keep Architecture is currently working on the design of the project and is looking for a development partner to bring it forward. 

The site is now up for sale.

Pictured above: An artist’s impression of what the development will look like (©Keep Architecture Limited)