Erskine Barracks is a 13.5 hectare redundant MoD site on the edge of Wilton. The former UK Land Forces Headquarters has been empty for several years and in line with Wiltshire council’s Core Strategy is designated for housing and employment use. In 2011 the MoD applied for outline planning for the site.
The development of the site will have a major impact on Wilton and the surrounding area including a potential increase in population of over 20%. Local people were concerned that a conventional housing development would impact negatively on local infrastructure while not benefiting the community’s need for sustainable employment, environmental considerations and housing affordable for people on local wages. Local people got together in order to see if there was a feasible alternative. These are some of the issues they highlighted as being of importance:
Wilton Community Land Trust has continued the work started by the Wilton Eco Park Development Community Association. Through meetings, workshops, stalls at various events and an environmental audit of Wilton; the Great Green Challenge (2012) the local community have had a lot of input into the planned development.
The Great Green Challenge
In January 2012 the Wilton Eco Park Development Community Association launched the Great Green Challenge; an environmental audit of Wilton and the local area. Funded by grants from Awards for All and the Local Energy Assessment Fund, the purpose of the Challenge was threefold;
- To raise awareness of the proposed Eco Park.
- To consult local people and businesses about their environmental needs, both locally and for the Eco Park.
- To establish a Community Land Trust.
The results of the audit were used directly to guide the formation of the Community Land Trust, making sure that it would be as community led as possible.
The Great Green Challenge consisted of 25 public events, energy audits on 15 local households, community buildings and businesses, plus training for ten energy enablers. 2,000 questionnaires were also distributed and, from those returned showed it was clear that not only was there 95% approval for the proposed Eco Park, but there was also strong evidence of local fuel poverty, a lack of affordable housing, transport concerns and a need for river and green spaces improvements.
In early 2013, it was announced that the Erskine Barracks site had been acquired by Redrow Homes Ltd , who have subsequently selected the name Wilton Hill for the development.
Redrow Homes has formed a partnership with OurEnterprise, a social developer and the Wilton CLT, to create an innovative new development on this site. A new website http://www.wiltonhillpartnership.co.uk offers an in-depth look at the development now proposed and for which a new planning application was submitted in October 2013. Click on the the application number 13/04870/OUT to find the relevant Wiltshire Council web page.
In 2013 a number of local events were held in association with Redrow Homes Ltd and OurEnterprise. They included a public exhibition on site in July 2013, which was followed up during the summer by workshops examining specific aspects of the proposed development.
Before the submission of the final planning application, a second exhibition was held in September 2013 at the Michael Herbert Hall, where members of the CLT and the general public were able to find out how plans had evolved, with the benefit of input from the community given at the earlier events. The event included a number of presentations and also an open Question and Answer session with representatives of the developers and the CLT.
South Wiltshire Green Doors
Wilton Community Land Trust organised South Wiltshire’s first Green Doors project in the May 2013. This weekend event saw 10 local homes opened to the public in Salisbury, Wilton and in other locations in the South of the County. The event enabled people to see what others have achieved and gain inspiration for their own homes. For more see our News pages.
We are now getting ready for a second Green Doors event, to take place in late spring of 2014. Further details will be available very soon.
Since formation we have also run a small river clearance project and has facilitated Ready for Life Workshops with Wessex Community Action. Visits have been made to CLTs in Cornwall and to the large Coin Street development in London.