'Crucial' housing development will now take a decade to complete
Updated 3:01pm Tuesday 22nd April 2014 in By Dominic Gilbert
THE 700-home development at Ridgeway Farm will take twice as long as residents first thought as the site is not due to be completed until 2023.
According to projections released as part of the Wiltshire Council Core Strategy, the development on the outskirts of north-west Swindon will not be finished for 10 years.
In an updated trajectory provided to Wiltshire Council, the developer plans to build 86 houses a year at the site until 2023, when the final 34 homes will make up the total of 700.
Residents in West Swindon have been surprised by the news, considering Taylor Wimpey had used their contribution to the projected five-year housing supply as a crucial factor in their appeal for planning approval.
Kevin Fisher, chairman of the Shaw Residents’ Asociation, said: “The whole argument Taylor Wimpey used in the planning inquiry was about the five-year housing stock and how there would be a shortfall.
“There were discussions during the inquiry that they would be able to deliver 700 houses within five years, and that was integral to their appeal.
“They always argue every authority has to have an achievable five-year housing stock, and you have got to be able to demonstrate you have an adequate supply of housing to meet demand.
“The point the developers made was that Swindon and Wiltshire did not have an adequate housing supply, and the fact the Tadpole Farm development was coming online did not affect their build schedule.
“At the inquiry Taylor Wimpey stated they could build 450 homes by 2016, but it will be 2021 before they meet that goal.
“We have also got to consider that this is their current projection. In my view, it is more likely to be extended rather than shrunk.
“This has only been found because I happened upon an email about the Wiltshire Council Core Strategy, and did a search for Swindon related links.
“Nobody in Wiltshire has made it public, and these are supposed to be our representatives. They should have an interest in making this sort of thing known.”
At the planning inquiry held in 2012, chartered town planner Alistair MacDonald, speaking for Taylor Wimpey, said: “For sites to be considered deliverable they must be achievable with a realistic prospect that housing will be delivered on the site within five years.
“Where a five-year housing supply cannot be demonstrated the housing policies are to be considered out of date. In such circumstances planning permission should be granted without delay subject to considerations of any adverse impacts.
“The starting point for this appeal in terms of five-year housing supply is that neither authority [Wiltshire or Swindon] can demonstrate an adequate supply.
“Ridgeway Farm is a highly deliverable site in the short term and I believe is the most deliverable sustainable site which is capable of delivering housing of a scale suitable to meaningfully mitigate the impacts of housing supply shortfalls at Swindon.”
A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said no one was available to comment yesterday.
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