Neighbourhood Plan consultation: Village Hall access

As part of the consultation on the South Marston Neighbourhood Plan, members of the public can view the plan online at www.southmarstonplan.com, in the offices of Swindon Borough Council or in Swindon Central Library.

For those resident unable to access these locations, the Parish Clerk will be opening the Village Hall on the dates and times below.

During these times, members of the Parish will be welcome to visit the hall and read the hard copy of the plan on display there.

  • Thursday 11th February 10am to 12pm
  • Monday 22nd February 10am to 12pm
  • Tuesday 1st March 10am to 12pm

Please note that comments must still be submitted to the Borough and the Clerk will be unable to answer queries relating to the plan.

Forthcoming services

South Marston Church
Sunday Services
1st Sunday in the month – 11 a.m. Family Service
7 February, 6 March, 3 April, 1 May
2nd Sunday – 9.30 a.m. Holy Communion
14 February, 13 March, 10 April, 8 May
3rd Sunday – 11 a.m. Team Service
17 January Coleview, 21 February St Margaret’s Stratton
4th Sunday – 8.0 a.m. Holy Communion (BCP)
24 January, 28 February, 27 March, 24 April
If there is a 5th Sunday – 0930 Morning Service

You will find a warm welcome at all our services

Contacts:
Priest in Charge: Rev Vicky Fleming
01793 827021
Email: revs.fleming@tiscali.co.uk
Curate: Rev Helen Baber

Meeting point & Carol singing

The Meeting Point takes place every second Saturday in the month, between 10.00 and 12.30 in the Village Hall .  Do come and meet your friends to chat and enjoy catching up on the latest news.  We will look forward to seeing at the next Meeting Point which is 13 February, 2016.

On 19 December a group of people set off round the village singing carols as they went.  It was a most enjoyable event on a lovely mild winter’s evening.  A collection was made for the Church of England Children’s Society and £78.00 was raised.  Thank you to all those who made us welcome and gave generously.  We will be doing it again next year so do come and join us.  A further £85 was raised for the Children’s Society at the Christingle Service on Christmas Eve, making a total of £163. Thank you again for all your support.

Hotel Development: Parish Council response

Over a 100 responses were sent to the Borough, particularly pointing out the loss of amenities to the village. The Parish Council’s response is set out below:

Dear Mr Snook,

Following our Parish Council meeting last night, please find below the response of the South Marston Parish Council to the recent application relating to the demolition of existing hotel buildings and redevelopment to provide up to 72no. dwellings and associated ancillary works at South Marston (Mercure) Hotel.

Having reviewed the application and taken on board comments from our parishioners, the Parish Council object to this application.

The reasons for this are:

  • Loss of amenities. The impact of the loss of amenities has not been addressed by the application and will have a significant effect on the village and its residents.  The amenities that will be lost include swimming pool, gymnasium, squash courts, coffee shop, meeting facilities and school event facilities.  Concerns about the impact are supported by the volume of comments on the borough planning website from residents and those that use the amenities.
  • Inadequate drainage and utilities infrastructure.   Please see the attached report which provides evidence that surface water flood risk has not been adequately addressed to comply with Local Plan Policy EN6 and South Marston Neighbourhood Plan Policy NP13.   In addition, the village sewerage system needs updating and its capacity increased before any further development can take place upstream of the Nightingale pumping station. The Parish Council would require this infrastructure in place before any building work is begun.
  • The quantum of housing is too great to allow good design on the site.  The housing density, although compatible with Policy RA3 of the Local Plan in number terms, creates a very cramped site, with open space delivered off-site to compensate.  SMPC would like to see more landscaping within the site itself with less cramped design and less reliance on courtyard parking which we believe will lead to obstructions through on-road parking.   To reinforce this point, we note that the pre-application advice offered by SBC to the applicant says ‘Dedicated parking spaces should be provided within the curtilage of properties’ which would be more in keeping with the character of existing housing in South Marston and would therefore comply with Neighbourhood Plan Policy NP2.
  • Incompatible design, not in keeping with the South Marston Neighbourhood Plan. The application features significant 3-storey houses (17 in total).  This is contrary to the Swindon Local Plan Policy RA3 which says ‘Development at South Marston shall…ensure it respects the character of the existing village’ and to the design principles (Policy NP2 in the  South Marston Neighbourhood Plan), which would allow 2.5 storey homes of a limited number and only when built as a landmark feature.

The Council also wish to register strong areas of concern as follows:

  • Inadequate information has been provided regarding the viability of the sports club in relation to the hotel, the costs of refurbishment for both or the viability of the hotel itself.  We hope that SBC will require far more detailed information regarding the current  viability of the site, including that of different parts of the existing businesses and their marketability.
  • The application requires the demolition of The Old Vicarage, which is noted as part of the village’s heritage within the South Marston Neighbourhood Plan and from which ‘Old Vicarage Lane’ gets its name. SMPC would have preferred to see an  imaginative use of the building within a housing development.
  • The application makes no provision for housing for the elderly.  Early discussions with the owners indicated a willingness to provide housing units for the elderly on this site, which is now missing from this proposal.  Policy NP14 in the South Marston Neighbourhood Plan encourages housing units for the elderly close to the Village Centre, and this site is the best location for that to be delivered.   Such units were part of the proposal at pre-application stage, and this is specifically referred to in pre-application advice offered by SBC, which notes the existence of demand for one and two bedroom properties for older people.
  • Loss of employment opportunities within South Marston. The Mercure is one of the few employers within the village providing a range of full and part time employment.
  • Quality of the research on the traffic impact of the development. The application takes account of public transport options that are not now available within the Village. The assumptions and modelling made within the application need to be reviewed.

Please also note that the Parish Council request that they are involved at an early stage in any discussions regarding the S106  with the developer and Swindon Borough Council, given the reliance of the site on community-owned open space and infrastructure.

As usual, feel free to contact the Clerk or myself about this response,  should you need to do so.

Regards

South Marston Parish Council

 

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