At the latest meeting of the strategic planning committee meeting, councillors voted to knock back the plans on a number of grounds.
Town councillor Kim Powers and Malmesbury mayor Paul Smith, as well as councillor and Wiltshire Area Localism and Planning Group (WALPA) leader Campbell Ritchie all asked the committee to uphold the sanctity of the neighbourhood plan.
Due to Wiltshire’s lack of a housing land supply, there is a balance in favour of development, and thus officers recommended the scheme for approval – a fact quoted by Tom Cole for the applicants when asking for approval.
Cllr Pip Ridout said there was a drainage team concern over flooding at the site, and asked how can the committee can make a decision without seeing the detail and asked if it would come back to strategic planning to scrutinise.
Site plans for the proposed 50 houses off Park Road
Chairman of the committee, Cllr Howard Greenman asked if there was a five year land supply would this bid have been recommended for approval. To which Mike Wilmott, head of development management, said no.
Cllr Gavin Grant, who represents Malmesbury, said the neighbourhood plan was an extraordinary achievement by the community, added: “This matters so much. Do not let the people of Malmesbury down.
“They have already accepted what housing they were asked to take. They’ve accepted with good grace the decision made by this committee for a further 70 houses above the neighbourhood plan.
“Do not undermine the principles of the neighbourhood plan. Do not undermine the principles of a planning led approach.”
Cllr Tony Trottman said the benefits of the scheme did not outweigh its adverse impact and proposed that the committee refuse the plans, which was seconded by Cllr Sarah Gibson.
Cllr Greenman added that the council should not claw to approve every scheme just because of a shortfall in land supply and does not want developers to consider Wiltshire as ‘easy pickings’.
“What I do not want is a strategic planning committee that is spitting in the face of the Malmesbury neighbourhood planning team,” he said.
At the vote, councillors voted unanimously to oppose the development.
After the meeting, Malmesbury mayor, Cllr Smith said: "No doubt it will go to appeal however the four members of Malmesbury Town Council put on a sterling performance today.
"Huge credit and thanks to Kim Power and Campbell Ritchie for all the outstanding work on the neighbourhood plan and Gavin Grants who’s top speech won the day."