The Council’s Strategic Planning Committee voted to refuse the plan after a site visit and a debate. Their reasons included the impact on the historic setting and surroundings of the Southwick Court manor house and problems with access for walkers and cyclists.
However they approved plans for 55 houses on the fields south of Church Lane, and 50 in the field directly south of Spring Meadows and The Poplars. Dozens of residents attended the meeting, several speaking against the plans.
Lib Dem Councillor David Vigar, who represents Trowbridge Grove on Wiltshire Council, said: “The Southwick Court Fields decision was a victory for nature, for heritage and for local people. There may be an appeal but I hope an inspector would agree with the councillors on the Wiltshire committee that the plan is not worth the damage that would be done to a historic setting and people’s well-being. The plans for Church Lane and Spring Meadows were approved sadly and our hearts go out to the people affected. I hope that we did all that we could.”
Cllr Graham Hill, Trowbridge’s Mayor, who has played a leading role in the campaign, outlined the evidence for important archaeology at the site, including a possible Roman villa complex.
Cllr Vigar argued that the impact on local residents should also be taken into account. He said: “It is a place where people have walked, run, played and enjoyed the open air for generations. All three sites had been zoned for housing by the Council in 2020 so it was always going to be a massive challenge to overturn that principle. However with the huge 2,600 home Ashton Park neighbourhood now in prospect I would argue there is no need for the Southwick Court Fields estate.”