OVER the last few years, residents, campaign groups and politicians have been fighting to prevent the development of houses on Hook Street, close to Lydiard Park.

In the end it was a battle in vain and the project was given the go ahead, but that is not to say the councillor who wins the Lydiard and Freshbrook seat does not have work to do.

Last month the design of the houses was given approval so the politicians in charge will now be expected to make sure the work is carried out with the minimum of disruption to those who live in the area.

David Barnard, who is chairman of the Lydiard Fields Action Group, said: “The biggest issue in the area is going to be the upcoming development of Hook Street and the importance of not just letting the building continue unchecked.

“Some of the effects will obviously only be apparent during the construction phase. While I can only speak for my group, I think the community would expect the councillor to keep an eye on the maintenance of the site.

“Others will be more long term, so the impact on the area and those who live nearby will need to be minimised.

“I think the biggest concern we have is that this development will open the door for further projects at Hook Street and the surrounding area.

“What we would certainly expect any councillor in the area to do is everything they can to make sure this doesn’t happen.”

This Is Wiltshire:

David Barnard, chairman of Lydiard Fields Action group

Within the ward are the historic Lydiard House and Park, regularly described as one of the jewels in Swindon’s crown.

The Lydiard Fields Action Group has put in an application for them to become assets of community value as a sign of their importance to the community.

David wants to ensure Lydiard Park stays as something the whole of Swindon can enjoy.

He said: “I think we have had plenty of assurances from all sides that there are no plans to sell Lydiard Park.

“There are, though, lots of talks that it may be leased and I think this could be to a private company or a social community group.

“The thing I would ask councillors to do is make sure they do whatever is best for Lydiard Park and the people of Swindon.”

Lydiard and Freshbrook will have a new councillor on Friday after the incumbent Michael Dickinson stood down.

In 2012, two of the seats were won by Conservatives while the other was won by Labour. The margins were close, meaning it is likely to be a close battle again.

John LENTON (UK Independence Party)
Jamal MIAH (Labour)
Livio PAVONE (Green Party)
Christopher  SHEPHERD (Liberal Democrat)
Tim SWINYARD (Conservative)
2012 election turnout: 33 per cent (8734)