Fewer homes set for the east
THE number of homes proposed to be built east of Swindon has been slashed by up to 1,500 by Swindon Council, following concerns from residents about flooding and infrastructure.
The council’s final version of the Core Strategy, which sets out the vision for Swindon’s development over the next 15 years, proposes to cut the number of homes in the three Eastern Villages planned to the east of the A419 from 7,500 to between 6,000 and 6,500.
The Core Strategy, which will go out to an eight-week public consultation in October, also proposes to double the amount of employment land in the area to about 30,000 hectares to allow another large employer, such as Honda or Nationwide , to move into Swindon.
Coun Dale Heenan , cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said: “It’s a reflection of the concerns of local residents and to support the local business community.
“Swindon needs land for employment and business and this seems to strike the right balance. The biggest concerns from residents are traffic and flooding and they didn’t want to see a sprawling estate of houses. We take these on board and that will be addressed.
“We haven’t actually said ‘These villages will be called this, these villages will have X number of houses’, that detail hasn’t been done yet. That’s for when an application comes forward, which may be 10 to 15 years down the road.”
Brian Osborn, chairman of Covingham Parish Council, said: “We perceive for Covingham any reduction in the number of houses is welcome. It’s welcome but the infrastructure has got to be put in place before they’re built.
“We know being realistic nobody is going to stop planning permission, but we’ve said we’ve got to get the infrastructure correct. There’s no good having these houses if the infrastructure like the drainage, etc, isn’t brought up to date or even the road network.”
Gordon Wilson, chairman of Liddington Parish Council, agreed with the reduction.
“I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “I think although I’m in Liddington, so I’m not as much affected by it as Wanborough , I think the main principle is to try to stop coalescence on the various areas.
“Wanborough is a village on its own basis so it wouldn’t be good to have that coalescence with a new development, making sure that we have some green space between Wanborough and the new development.”
Sylvia Brown, vice-chairman of South Marston Parish Council, said: “We’re very pleased about the reduction because there’s a finite area of land to the east you can build on without the imposition of mass housing on existing villages… that’s why South Marston is developing its own neighbourhood plan, which is consistent with Core Strategy numbers.”