Last throw of dice for homes project
A ONE day appeal hearing to decide whether a controversial housing development near Lydiard Park should get the go ahead will take place early next month.
Persimmon Homes have already been refused twice by Swindon Council’s planning committee to build new homes in the greenbelt area and once by an appeal inspectorate.
In what could be one last throw of the dice for the developers, an appeal hearing by the Planning Inspectorate on September 3 will be hosted at the Civic Offices.
Coun Cindy Matthews, who represents Lydiard and Freshbrook, is appealing for people interested in the plan to come down and make their views known.
In 2011, plans for 175 homes on the land north of Hook Street 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.
Under proposals for the new development, Persimmon Homes has revised its plan to 73 homes.
The work would occupy less than half the original site – 3.6 hectares compared with 8.8 hectares.
It will also be situated down the hill to avoid encroaching over the ridge, which was a main objection to the first plan.
Coun Matthews said she had serious concerns the project would be passed.
“Until our Local Plan is confirmed, Swindon is quite vulnerable to applications like this one,” said Coun Matthews.
“It will diminish the appeal of a country park.
“People should notify the planning inspectorate if they wish to speak at the hearing.”
She said the development would not only spoil the atmosphere of the area but could also add to west Swindon’s traffic problems.
Lorraine Williams, of the Lydiard Fields Action Group, said: “If the development took place Lydiard Park would be converted from a country park to an urban park. It’s special in Swindon to have a little bit of countryside.
“There has never been any support from the local community for this development.
“The developers are coming here and imposing a scheme on the local community which no one wants.”
Rob Hart, land director for Persimmon Homes Wessex, said: “The appeal comes at a time when there is an urgent need for the delivery of more open market and affordable housing in the borough.
“A previous appeal concerning a much larger scheme recognised that the site was in an sustainable location. The inspector's only concerns related to the impact on the setting of Lydiard Park, which has been addressed by the significantly modified proposals.”
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