Villagers speak out over bid to build 2,600 homes
5:30am Saturday 2nd August 2014 in By Elizabeth Mackley
WANBOROUGH residents remain unconvinced by plans to build 2,600 new homes at nearby Lotmead Farm after a presentation by developers.
More than 20 residents attended a parish council meeting when 10 experts from Ainscough Strategic Land put forward their proposals for the land to the south of the A420, as part of the wider Eastern Villages development.
Ainscough has not yet submitted a planning application, but should plans go ahead it would create two new villages – Earlscourt and Lower Earlscourt – plus a primary school, playing fields, allotments and other infrastructure near Lotmead Farm.
But this would only take place after around 200 homes had already been built on the site, sparking residents’ concerns about what services new residents would use before the dedicated school and roads are created.
Gary Sumner, chairman of the parish council, said: “They say they will build schools for the local area, but that won’t be until five years after the first 200 houses are built. They haven’t asked the primary schools in Covingham and Wanborough if they have the capacity for that.
“Even when the new schools are built, parents will already have established patterns of behaviour where they drive their children to school and won’t want to change that.
“Our main concern is that we have been working with Swindon Council on this for several years and it was agreed there would be no use of the Wanborough Road and that the development’s access road would be via the South Connector Road.
“But the people who will live in these first 200 homes will want access to the M4, and so they will go through Wanborough to reach it.
“We’ve always been supportive of development in Swindon but have always been very clear it needs to have the correct infrastructure.”
Philip Poole, 59, of Stanley Close, has lived with his family in Wanbor-ough for 15 years.
He said of the presentation: “It was badly planned, badly presented and badly flawed. Not once did they mention how the proposals would impact the village of Wanborough.
“When they build those 200 houses the construction traffic will have no choice but to come through the village because of the weight restriction in Covingham.
“But until they come up with something that has far more detail and shows how it will link to the rest of the wider plan, and until they detail how it will be funded, then they will not get any approval from residents in Wanborough whatsoever.”
Paul Martin, MD of Ainscough Strategic Land, said of the meeting: “The one concern that those present specifically asked us to come back to them on was around mitigating any impact that the construction work would have on the village, residents and businesses.
“We are looking at how we can continue round-table discussions with the parish council, as well as with the many other stakeholders who are engaging very constructively with us. As part of the application, a Construction Management Plan will be produced to mitigate the potential impact of construction traffic.
“Any proposals for villages to the north will be required to provide connections to the wider north Eastern Villages. Our proposals will not include a vehicle connection between the wider Eastern Villages and Wanborough Road. This, together with other junction improvements, should reduce rat-running through Wanborough.”
- To view the proposals, visit www.earlscourtvillages.co.uk
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