Scaled-down homes plans for land near Hook Street ‘still too much’
A DEVELOPER seeking to build an estate near Lydiard Park has submitted further scaled-down plans to Swindon Council – but some councillors say it is still an unacceptable proposal.
Last year, plans for 175 homes on land north of Hook Street, next to Grange Park, were thrown out by the Planning Inspectorate on appeal.
In July, developer Persimmon Homes held a pre-application public consultation on revised plans for 91 houses, however the outline planning application which has now been submitted is for a reduced density development with 73 homes.
The homes in the revised plans occupy less than half the original site – 3.6 hectares compared to 8.8 hectares – and are sited down the hill to avoid encroaching over the ridge, which was a main argument of those who opposed to the original plan.
However, the area is not earmarked for homes in either of Swindon Council’s existing or the emerging local plans and some residents and councillors do not want to see any development on the site.
Coun Dale Heenan, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said the latest proposals were still an overdevelopment, out of keeping with the area, and would have a disproportionate impact on surrounding roads and other infrastructure.
He said: “My first impression was it was an overdevelopment.
“It’s less than half the area that the last planning application was, but it is more than half the houses.
“The planning committee refused the original application. Then it went to the planning inspector who also agreed with the council that it was unacceptable, but he said as long as the development didn’t go over the ridge, so you cannot actually see houses from Lydiard Park, some form of development was fine.
“And the developers have taken that literally and tried to cram in as many houses as they could.”
Coun Mick Bray (Con, Lydiard and Freshbrook) said he was concerned about the increased risk of flooding for homes further downhill in Grange Park and also that the development would not be sufficiently served by local services and infrastructure, adding that Hook Street was too narrow to take more cars.
He said: “It’s the fact the development is not sufficiently provided to make it entertaining for the people that are already there in the sense they’re just building 73 houses and you can multiply that by three and it’s going to be about 250 cars.”
And Coun Cindy Matthews (Lab, Lydiard and Freshbrook) added: “There’s a problem with the drainage and flooding. There’s a problem with the road. Hook Street is very busy, particularly in the rush hour.”
A document submitted with the planning application on behalf of Persimmon Homes states: “The development of the land off Hook Street offers the opportunity to create an attractive new residential neighbourhood for Swindon.
“The proposals are aimed at creating a new area of character and quality which responds positively to its setting and integrates with the existing urban area.“ It adds: “The revised proposals no longer encroach beyond the crest and would retain an open setting to Lydiard Park with a robust landscaped edge.”