A campaign success – proposed housing at Mere

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By Suzanne Keene
8th June 2020

Castle Street, Mere: Planning Inspector backs CPRE Wiltshire’s case against development.

CPRE Wiltshire welcomes news of the Planning Inspector’s dismissal of an appeal by Richborough Estates against Wiltshire Council’s refusal to allow a development of 130 houses outside Mere.

In 2017, CPRE Wiltshire objected to an outline planning application by Richborough Estates for 130 houses in a green field outside Mere. The development would have been fully visible from Mere’s iconic ancient monument, Castle Hill, and St Michael’s Church. The Monarch’s Way footpath crosses the site and would become a tarmac path through a suburban housing estate.

CPRE Wiltshire argued strongly that the development would harm the setting of the historic town of Mere and Mere Castle, its scheduled monument. It would also breach Wiltshire Council’s policies of landscape protection and be against developments outside town settlement boundaries.

This significant decision is one of the first under the government’s newly revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It is likely to be cited as a precedent in other appeal hearings.

CPRE Wiltshire is especially pleased that the Inspector accepted our powerful arguments against harm to the setting of Mere’s historic town and Mere Castle. Wiltshire Council’s case for refusal largely hinged on housing numbers, but this argument was found to be far outweighed by damage to “heritage assets”.

Website links:
Wiltshire Council planning application.
Planning inspectorate decision.

Monarch's Way footpath across the site protected by Mere Castle
Two people searching for something against a cloudy blue sky