THERE is fresh hope for the future of an abandoned park and ride site in North Swindon.

The Groundwell car park has been unused for more than a decade but councillors will meet tonight to discuss the next steps for its redevelopment.

And those serving the local community say an option that brings jobs to the area would be best.

The empty site sits on the edge of Penhill, just off Cricklade Road and south of the Blunsdon junction of the A419.

Swindon Borough Council has come up with a guide for potential developers. The draft version will be discussed by members of the council’s planning committee and it says its purpose is ”to encourage appropriate redevelopment”.

It continues: “The site occupies a transitional location between a residential area to the west and south, and an industrial zone to the north and east. As such, it has potential of being redeveloped for either residential or commercial uses.”

The guide offers developers four possible uses – a housing estate, a housing estate with a care home included, a commercial development which suggests a supermarket and nursery school or an industrial use with seven units of different sizes and car parking.

Councillors for Penhill and Upper Stratton would prefer it to be used to bring employment.

Labour’s Mark Dempsey said: “I’m disappointed that it will not be used as a park and ride. There are increasing levels of traffic in Swindon and rapid bus transit seems to have fallen off the agenda. I think the best thing would be to use it properly as a park and ride.”

If that doesn’t happen, Coun Dempsey said: “The best thing would be a development that brings jobs to the area, so an employment use for the site would be the preference.”

He said a housing development would add more traffic to the already-busy Cricklade Road, especially traffic turning right into the site.

He added: “I’d like the access to the site to be from Crompton Road rather than Cricklade Road.”

The guide suggests there could be access from the road which runs through the Groundwell Industrial Estate directly to the north of the site. It says this would only happen if the site became commercial or industrial and for service use, such as deliveries, only.

Traffic is also a concern for Conservative ward member Oladapo Ibitoye.

He said: “Swindon is building a lot of houses and will be reaching its target with the major new developments. I think that something that brings jobs for all the people living in the houses would be the best thing for this area.”

The committee meeting begins at 6pm tonight (Thursday). Members of the public can watch and listen using a link available from the agenda for the meeting on