Battle against homes at Ridgeway Farm is lost
THE battle against a 700-home development at Ridgeway Farm has finally been lost as Wiltshire Council has approved the first phase of expansion.
Construction will now begin on the road infrastructure, a one form entry primary school, and 218 new homes.
In April 2012 councils in Wiltshire and Swindon rejected the application by developers Taylor Wimpey, but it was won on appeal in December of that year.
Concerns around the layout and impact of the development, which would lie on the northern border of Peatmoor, have been raised by a number of Swindon residents, councillors and MPs.
The county council received more than 200 objections from residents, but did not bring the plans back in for consultation.
The expected pressure on traffic coming through West Swindon has been a particular cause for concern, with congestion on Swinley Drive and around the Sparcells roundabout potentially spilling over to gridlock Mead Way.
Formal holding objections to the development were lodged by Thames Water, Network Rail, and Scottish and Southern Electricity.
On July 11 Thames Water wrote to the developer outlining a lack of waste water infrastructure or fresh water supply, but later withdrew its objection.
The company plan to enforce a £50 price hike per customer next year to fund ambitious new infrastructure works.
The rail and electricity companies followed suit in lodging objections, the last of which was withdrawn on 3 December.
Kevin Fisher, the chairman of Shaw Residents’ Association, said: “It would seem a perfect storm is brewing for residents of west and north Swindon.
“The SRA believes the design of the spine road through the Ridgeway Farm development, along with inadequate parking facilities, will create a gridlock situation on the north Sparcells roundabout.
“Couple this with the failure of the application for funding the Thamesdown Drive extension, probably 50 more homes at Moredon Bridge and an un-elected planning inspector telling Wiltshire they are 7,000 houses short in their local plan.
“This is a decision that could see Pry Farm just north of Ridge-way Farm being developed, and easy to predict a negative impact on the quality of life for residents of West and north Swindon.”
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said that he hoped the various concerns would still be taken into account during construction of the new development.
“I remain concerned that the proposed spine road for this development is narrower than the original proposal and that there are insufficient parking bays,” he said. “Planners need to address these issues in order to avoid traffic congestion for residents.”
Ray Thomas, the chairman of Purton Parish Council, said: “I feel the developers were very opportunistic here.
“From our point of view some might say this is an urban extension of Swindon rather than part of Purton. If we wanted to live in a town like Swindon we would.
“Hopefully we will be able to stop the absorption into Swindon, but we also need to keep our village identity.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have received planning approval for the first phase of 220 homes together with a new primary school and infrastructure at Ridgeway Farm.
“We are now looking forward to beginning work at the site early in the New Year and releasing the first new homes for sale shortly afterwards, with work on the primary school due to commence in late 2015.”
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