Picking apart our Local Plan

This Is Wiltshire: Gary Sumner, chairman of Wanborough Parish Council, at Lotmead Farm, Covingham Gary Sumner, chairman of Wanborough Parish Council, at Lotmead Farm, Covingham

ONE of the town’s most ambitious development projects went under intensive scrutiny yesterday in the latest session of the examination in public of Swindon’s Local Plan.

The Local Plan is a document which outlines all the major housing projects to take place in Swindon until 2026, and legislates for 22,000 extra homes.

Until May 23 all these proposals will undergo an examination by independent planning inspector, Mike Smith, who will check all the plans for their soundness.

Yesterday six different developers and two parish councils were among 13 organisations who took part in the discussion over proposals for 8,000 new houses on land to the east of the A419.

Several planning applications have already been submitted to Swindon Council, including a proposed 2,380 new homes set to dwarf South Marston.

But the biggest concerns were raised by the representatives for Wanborough Parish Council, presented by barrister Tim Comyn.

Mr Comyn expressed fears that the Redlands airfield had been wrongly included in the patch of land to be developed as part of the eastern villages, and suggested that there was a lack of clarity in the measures to be taken to reduce rat running through the village, and the plans for a new south connector road.

He also raised issues about flood risk, and argued that a lack of detail made the plans for the eastern villages undeliverable.

Following the hearing, Wanborough Parish Council chairman Gary Sumner said: “I’m quite positive that we got our point across but I do think housing in Redlands needs to be addressed. They are planning to build a south connector road which will relieve traffic from the Wanborough Road, but if they build at Redlands without also putting in additional infrastructure then they will impact the Wanborough Road.”

Although the eastern villages are set to have a huge impact on the village of South Marston, vice chairman of the parish council, Sylvia Brown, said that years of behind-the-scenes work with Swindon Council had paid off.

The hearing resumes at 9.30am on Tuesday in the Steam museum, where the employment in the town will be under discussion.

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