Parishes will work together in homes battle
5:30am Saturday 1st March 2014 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
TWO parish councils are joining forces in a bid to voice their concerns about plans for 3,000 homes.
An environmental impact assessment looking at whether there is the potential for a mixed use scheme, which includes a primary school and a local centre built on 160 hectares land east of the A419 and south of the A420, was carried out last year.
Representatives in both parishes are concerned a full planning application will follow in the coming months which would then lead to work starting before the correct infrastructure is put into place.
Val Curtis, chair of Coving-ham Parish Council’s planning committee, asked if the two organisations could join forces.
She said: “We know the whole area is going to be developed and there is very little we can do to stop it. We just want to make sure the correct infrastructure is in place first.
“Any building traffic in and out of that development at Lot-mead would have to come through Covingham or Wanborough, which neither parish is happy with.
“Working together gives us a bigger voice and gets more people behind our cause. We want to get more residents in Coving-ham interested in what might be happening at Lotmead and how it will affect them.”
Wanborough Parish Council chairman Gary Sumner has welcomed the alliance with Covingham.
He said the traffic regulation order in Merlin Way on HGVs would force any construction traffic down Covingham Drive, Dorcan Way and Kingfisher Drive, unless better infrastructure is put in place by Swindon Council beforehand.
“Access for construction traffic to Lotmead is supposed to come through Great Stall, one of the first developments due to be built, but if Lotmead comes in first the only option is to come in through Covingham,” he said.
“There need to be trigger points in the Local Plan. “For example only 500 houses can be built when there is a primary school, or 2,000 houses can only be built when there is a dual carriageway.”
Coun Dale Heenan, cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said: “The developer, Ainscough, has provided a categoric assurance that there will be no planning application submitted before the Local Plan is finalised, and that when they are ready to submit, phase one will represent just 200 new houses.
“It is far too early to speculate on infrastructure, but roads and flood prevention remain my top two concerns. “The council is encouraging the developer to consult local residents so that no false rumours are started and there are no surprises in the process.”