The  permission to turn a family home in east Swindon into a home for people receiving care has really upset residents and current and former councillors.

Planners at Swindon Borough Council have given prior approval to a plan to use an address in Okebourne Park in Liden as a home for six people in need of care.


But many living nearby are worried. There are concerns specifically about parking provision and traffic for the home in a cul-de-sac

But more generally, they are worried that the overturning a covenant placed on the house which says it must not be used for a business opens the door to other properties being turned into commercial ventures.

The council says that using the house as a home for six falls within the uses envisaged in the  covenant – but  Councillor Bazil Solomon and former councillor and Mayor Garry Perkins have taken up the cause of the concerned residents.


Coun Solomon said: “We are worried that this sets a precedent. There are a lot of properties in the area which have similar  covenants on, and many people are directly affected.

“A lot of the residents are very concerns how this was done without proper consultation.


Elderly residents living there with disabilities are feeling very anxious. They aren't against business developments such as care homes or offices but want effective and robust thinking before places are selected.


“I live in Liden and have covenants on my home as well so I have  asked the council to reverse the decision in Okebourne Park.”

Coun Solomon has submitted a petition of more than 70 signatures to the planning and property departments.”

Former councillor and Mayor Garry Perkins said it was important to maintain larger family homes in Swindon for the benefit of the economy.


He said: “When we were trying to attract big companies to come here, they told the council – you need more larger, single family homes, for management. That’s what some of these were built as, and its important that they are kept as such.


“We think the council has been very cavalier in over-riding the residents’ objections and concerns.”


A spokesman for the borough council said the only decision planners were able to make was whether the use for the house was legal, as that was the only application made: “Applications for prior approval are not applications for full planning permission.

As such there are no planning applications in for determination at 44 Okebourne Close. Essentially prior approvals require the local authority to determine whether a proposal is acceptable in law, and confirm through the issue of a prior approval certificate.


Objections can be raised to a prior approval application and are taken into account. However, the basis in determining such an application is whether it is lawful in planning terms. For a prior approval application to be refused, the proposal has to either be unlawful in planning terms (i.e. it would not comprise ‘permitted development’) or an objection would give rise to planning considerations that would be so material as to override the lawful use on the basis of the facts and evidence submitted.  


“In this case, the permitted change of use would not create any additional new build, or generate additional amenity impacts that could be considered to be materially different to that of its current use. The test is whether a refusal to grant prior approval could be sustained at appeal, and to be so the impacts of the proposal would need to be proven to be so significant that it would override permitted development rights. So Prior Approval was confirmed as per the position in law.


“The rescinding of the covenant was granted (b|Property) on the basis that the proposed use is lawful.”