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East Swindon | February 21, 2018

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The potential future of Redlands Airfield. What do you think?

Dale Heenan
  • On July 1, 2013

Swindon Borough Council’s Planning Committee will consider a report next week which includes a proposal to build on the Redlands airfield. A 10 week consultation period on the Eastern Villages will last until the middle of September. If approved when the Local Plan is adopted in early 2014, then a planning application could be submitted a few months later.

Cllr Dale Heenan, “Redlands is a family business which diversified from farming into including a skydrive club, and organises lots of  charity funding raising jumps. However it also involves an issue that has split the views of many people in East Swindon, including residents of Covingham and Liden. As many people like watching the parachutes, as complain about the low flying aircraft noise.

I believe a small development at this site is the right thing to do. It provides the only viable solution which can be supported by the owners of Redlands and local residents.

Development is often a controversial topic, and I fully expect some people to mislead about the future for this site. In the context of the Eastern Villages, including Redlands in the Local Plan makes little overall difference.

I am more concerned about the wider impact of 8000 houses on issues like roads and flooding. I am doing everything possible to solve those concerns. for example, the number of houses has been cut down from over 12,000 houses, and there is a clear recognition that flood risk must be tackled for existing communities. In addition, successful local campaigns are taking effect and before the end of 2013 there will be a ban on HGV’s using Merlin Way.

There are also explicit criteria which must be met  to protect the character and identity of Wanborough, Bishopstone and Bourton”


Page 17 says

“It is considered that, subject to a legal agreement that extinguishes the airfield
planning permission, a discrete and exemplary designed residential development of an appropriate scale on the airfield would be acceptable within the context of the new Eastern Villages.”

Page 60 and 61 says

“The development of Redlands Airfield would need to deliver a high quality development which is respectful of the area‟s character and setting, and exemplary in design quality. It would need to satisfy rigorous design criteria that are driven by concerns for sustainability and be based on good site planning, landscape and building design that optimises the natural assets of the site and its location. In particular, it must ensure the graduated transition from the built form to the surrounding rural area, softening the edge of the development towards the noncoalescence zone as defined in Policy NC3 to protect the character and identity of Wanborough, Bishopstone and Bourton.

The scale of development should be planned in the form of a small contained hamlet nestling into the local landscape, and respecting its proximity to near neighbours. The development should have sufficient critical mass to achieve a sense of community and yet be of a scale that can settle into the landscape and exist as a discrete development beyond the immediate rural hinterland of Wanborough. Reference  should also be made to the adopted Landscape Character SPD (2004) to ensure the form of development is spacious with gaps between buildings allowing views to the open countryside.

In particular the development must;

  •  have a settlement form that has a true village character based on traditional Wessex Mid-Vale village street patterns and typologies,
  • respect and enhance the existing landscape setting, including the retention of existing field patterns and hedgerows, and appropriate new planting promoting biodiversity,
  • be architecturally distinctive, including the possibility of an appropriate new design aesthetic, drawing on local historic references when selecting form, materials, colour and detail,
  • comprise a lower density to other EV islands to respect the rural context
  • have public realm, both in the form of village squares and greens designed as integral parts of the hamlet‟s layout,
  • demonstrate and achieve a high level of environmental sustainability,
  • provide an acceptable new vehicular access with accompanying traffic calming and safety measures,
  • provide new footpath and cycleway links both to Lower Wanborough and towards Swindon, as well as enabling the positive connection with the Eastern Villages development.
  • include affordable housing and limited facilities, such as allotments and informal play and recreational areas, that will benefit new residents, and which would also benefit residents of Lower Wanborough.
  • Such a proposal would be subject to;
    a) the agreement of the owner of the airfield,
    b) satisfactory submission, and approval of planning proposals which shall be supported by a planning brief embracing the design principles set out below, and include a design code ,
    c) a Section 106 agreement to secure necessary supporting infrastructure and facilities,
    d) an agreement relating to the timing and phasing of development.
    e) transport and environmental assessments including a landscape assessment and proposed mitigation measures”

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