CHANGES to plans for the 4,500-home Wichelstowe master plan in the south of Swindon are going out for public consultation.
Swindon Council is proposing a number of revised proposals to its original blueprint – or master plan – which was approved in May 2005.
The revised plans have the potential to save £30m in the cost of providing future infrastructure such as roads compared to the original proposals, while it is hoped the changes will make the project more attractive to outside investors.
“The world has changed since 2005,” said Coun Mike Bawden, cabinet member for strategic projects and transformation.
“At some point in the future we will submit a revised planning application but before we do that we want to hear what residents’ views are and hear what they would like to happen in 2013.”
The principal changes include a realignment of the proposed Croft Road to Hay Lane link road, which is intended to be a more efficient road layout and make the development’s district centre more viable, while keeping extra traffic away from Wroughton.
It also involves a change to the ‘trigger point’ for providing some infrastructure, from 1,100 completed homes to 2,500, to make sure that infrastructure costs are more appropriately balanced with the rate of house building.
There will also be a greater emphasis on ‘walkable neighbourhoods’ to ensure that all facilities on site are easily reached on foot, a commitment to large areas of green public open space and an increase in the number of mature trees, hedgerows and landscape contours that will be retained across the site.
“This will hopefully give a kick-start to the project,” said Coun Bawden. “The economic climate is not what is was and we need to re look at the plans to make sure they work for the people of today.”
The first phase of the Wichelstowe scheme, with over 800 homes in East Wichel, is under way and is being delivered by Taylor Wimpey.
The remainder of the land at Middle and West Wichel, approximately 75 per cent, remains in council ownership. Work on a Waitrose supermarket, which forms part of the planned district centre, is also under way.
The consultation will run for three weeks from Tuesday until Friday, September 13. Councillors will consider feedback in early 2014.
In addition, a Wichelstowe South Locality meeting will be held in early September on a date yet to be set, and there will be a further meeting between the council’s Wichelstowe project team and Wroughton Parish Council.
Details about what is being proposed will also be available at wichelstowe.co.uk from Tuesday.