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Cabinet to consider withdrawal from Housing Infrastructure Fund and possible next steps for Future Chippenham programme

At their meeting on Tuesday 13 December 2022, Cabinet will consider a recommendation for Wiltshire Council to effect a withdrawal from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) and to consider possible next steps for the Future Chippenham programme.

Published 7 December 2022

This follows Cabinet's decision in July 2021 to proceed with a road route and housing development only to the south of Chippenham and to seek a revised Grant Determination Agreement (GDA) with Homes England to reflect this decision. This revised scheme comprises a southern section of the distributor road from the A4 through to the A350 junction at Lackham roundabout delivering around 4,050 new homes and associated infrastructure subject to the Local Plan review.

In July 2022 Cabinet resolved to pause further work on the Future Chippenham programme and if a revised GDA could not be agreed, to seek a mutually agreed exit from the existing GDA as it would not be possible to deliver the project within the HIF funding period without exposing the council to financial risk. As stated previously proceeding with the southern section even with the total £75 million HIF funding would expose the council to significant financial risk.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: "As a result of ongoing discussions with Homes England, a mutually agreed exit from the GDA that reflects the Cabinet decision of July 2022 has been agreed with them. Cabinet will decide next week whether to effect a withdrawal from the HIF programme. 

"One of our key aims is to deliver vibrant well-connected communities so Cabinet will carefully consider all the options available for the future of its land to the south of Chippenham and possible next steps for the Future Chippenham programme."

Cabinet will consider four options available to the council in its capacity as a landowner, which is entirely separate from its role as the Local Planning Authority (LPA). This includes the recommendation to continue to work with those landowners to the South of Chippenham to masterplan and promote the sites as part of the Local Plan review process.

A further recommendation stipulates that after collaboration with the southern landowners should the council's land not be allocated for housing development during the Local Plan review then the council may choose to sell part or all of its land to the south of Chippenham.

The report sets out that should Cabinet agree to withdraw from the HIF to refer to the next Full Council the capital financing of the unfunded costs of the Future Chippenham programme as well as agreeing to make a budget allocation of £0.500m in 2023/24 to support the work to promote the council sites in the Local Plan review. 

In addition, the report asks Cabinet to authorise entering into an agreement with the developer of Rawlings Green to provide access over land in the council's ownership at Darcy Close to enable the development to take place.

To read the full Cabinet report, please visit: (opens new window) (agenda item 7).

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