Traffic concerns over new 'Hub' district centre
COVINGHAM Parish Council wants more time to consider a planning application to build a district centre opposite Gablecross Police Station before the consultation window closes.
The application, submitted to Swindon Council by Gleeson Developments and Portfolio Holdings, is for a variety of commercial properties to be built on six fields covering about 40ha of land behind the A420.
The site could become a new district centre, known as The Hub, which would be similar in size to the Orbital Retail Park in North Swindon.
With its mix of two warehouses and office buildings, the developers say The Hub could create more than 2,000 new jobs if the plans for two new warehouses and offices are successful.
But members of Covingham Parish Council have expressed concern that the application lacks enough detail for residents to make an informed decision.
During a council meeting on Monday, councillor Val Curtis, chairwoman of the parish plan committee, said: “I do think we really need to do something and we need to do something quickly.
“The biggest concern is the impact that it could have on our roads.
“Looking at the plans it looks like they want to build a warehouse.
“They’re talking about 2,000 employment opportunities, but the warehouse is about the size of B&Q, which employs 500 people.
“They’re talking about using Stagecoach to get people there but bus routes have a tendency to be cut.
“It’s just horrific.”
But the developers say the proposals will not greatly affect traffic in the area because of the nature of the planned development.
Geoff Tipping, of Gleeson, said: “The proposals for The Hub are a tiny part of the plans for the Eastern Villages development.
“The proposals are for what we call B8, which is distribution, which is not unlike the B&Q warehouse just a little further along the A419. This kind of development has the lightest impact on traffic compared to other developments, such as housing.”
The planning committee has arranged for a separate meeting next week to discuss the planning application before reaching a consensual opinion to put to Swindon Council.
It also plans to confer with neighbouring Wanborough Parish Council.
It is not yet known which businesses are earmarked to take the proposed warehouse space.
However, it is hoped the developers will attract an international employer.
Residents have until March 28 to comment on the plans.
For more information, visit www.swindon.gov.uk /planning and search for planning application number S/OUT/14/0253.
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