Cheers of delight as Hook Street homes refused
THERE were cheers in the council chambers after councillors refused plans to develop on the doorstep of Lydiard Park for the second time.
Persimmon Homes submitted an outline planning application for the development of 73 homes on land north of Hook Street, but it was refused – to the delight of local residents and councillors.
In 2011, plans for 175 homes on the same land were thrown out by the Planning Inspectorate on appeal because of the impact it would have on one of Swindon’s ‘crown jewels’ Lydiard Park.
Then, in July 2012, developer Persimmon Homes held a pre-application public consultation on revised plans for 91 houses, but reduced that number to 73 ahead of last night’s meeting.
The homes would occupy less than half the original proposed site – 3.6 hectares compared to 8.8 hectares – and would be sited down the hill to avoid encroaching over the ridge, which was a main objection to the first plan.
During the statutory consultation, Swindon Council received about 150 objections, including from the Council for the Protection of Rural England, Friends of Lydiard Park, the Lydiard Fields Action Group, Lydiard Millicent Parish Council, and Lydiard Tregoze Parish Council.
At last night’s meeting councillor Nick Martin, of the planning committee, said: “I think this is a rather clear example of greed.
“To say it is below the ridge is all very well but we have no reason to believe that the developer won’t be back for the other half of the field.
“I don’t trust the developers who are just looking to piggy back on other developments.
“It offers no benefit to the people of Swindon and only increases the profits of a particularly greedy developer.”
Despite the vote being unanimous there is still the risk that Persimmon Homes could appeal the decision and it will fall into the hands of the Planning Inspectorate to have the final say.
Glen Lodwin, agent, for Persimmon Homes cited the five-year housing plan shortfall as one reason why the development is needed and said that steps had been made to ensure the development is not visible from Lydiard Park.
Keith Williams, of the Lydiard Field Action Group, said of the refusal: “It’s great news.
“It’s good to see the councillors have the courage of conviction to refuse the plans.”