Villages throughout England can now have a greater influence over their future development if they draw up a Village Design Statement (VDS). Originally proposed by the Countryside Commission, the VDS has been given official status; once approved by the local authority, the planners are obliged to take it into account when considering new planning applications. Technically it is known as Supplementary Planning Guidance, and what it supplements is the local Development Plan. A VDS is expected to assess the visual character of the village, and to suggest how new development should be designed to protect and enhance that character.

The Steeple Ashton VDS (created in 2001) – the first in West Wiltshire – was drawn up by a specially created group under the aegis of the Parish Council and the Friends of Steeple Ashton. Two meetings were held in 1998 to which all villagers were invited. Over 100 people put their names forward to help with research. The final document was endorsed by the villagers at a public meeting in the village hall on 9th July 2000.

The VDS thus represents the views of the village at that time. It has been approved by the West Wiltshire District Council and will therefore be taken into account when the planners consider building applications from Steeple Ashton.

Introducing Steeple Ashton

Steeple Ashton is a West Wiltshire village situated in a triangle bounded by Trowbridge, Devizes and Westbury. It is a linear village, being only some one and a half miles wide, situated in a parish extending for a distance of some three miles in a south easterly direction from the edge of Trowbridge. It contains about 400 houses and has a population of some 1200.

A paper copy of the full Village Design Statement can be obtained from the Parish Clerk. Contact details are shown on the Home web page (top of that page).

An electronic copy can be viewed by clicking this link.

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