Council chairman concerned about housing scheme
IF changes to the Wichelstowe Masterplan go ahead it could set a precedent for other major developments to occur without crucial infrastructure being built, according to Wanborough parish councillor Gary Sumner.
Coun Sumner is urging people to give their views on changes to the Wichelstowe development because he fears if these proposals are pushed through, it could result in similar changes being made in the future to the Eastern Village scheme, leading to flooding and gridlocked roads.
Under the revised plans for the 4,500-home Wichelstowe Master-plan, the council hopes to double the trigger point for the amount of houses which need to be built, from 1,100 to 2,500 before the infrastructure has to be built.
“People have to realise if the borough can change big planning applications then there is nothing to say they won’t go ahead and change the Eastern Village plans,” said Coun Sumner. “I think people think these things are set in stone when they aren’t.
“There are 8,000 homes planned here plus business parks and a new district centre. “If Swindon Council can’t show how they will pay for the infrastructure there (Wichelstowe) then what guarantees do existing residents have that they will not simply come back later and revise the trigger points in any Outline Planning Consent to ‘delay’ vital roads or flood mitigation for reasons of expediency?
“This time they are proposing changing the consent for their own land but will they be equally opaque with a diverse range of land owners all looking to develop their own piece of land? The Planning Department have said the Eastern Villages will be much more difficult to control as they don’t own the land.”
Councillor Dale Heenan, cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said: “The Wichel-stowe planning application is to ensure the right infrastructure is delivered at the right time. What’s been discovered is the infrastructure was planned to be built before it was actually needed.
“There are 1,000 homes there and additional work at the moment is not actually needed. For anyone to say this is going to be setting a precedent is very mischievous.”
Residents have until November 18 to comment on the planning application, quoting reference S/13/1524.
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