Note: This article has been significantly updated since the original posting
Since a meeting on 15 October in the village hall, I have become aware of the strength of feeling in the village about the plans to build 12,000 houses in the Eastern Development Area to the South of the village.. Many residents here, and in other parishes affected by the proposals, want to oppose the development. They are surprised that the South Marston parish council is continuing to work with the planners to modify the proposals to bring them more in line with the village strategy, which so many of you helped to create in 2007.
At the meeting of NO2EDA, called by Simon Olive, we heard from Gary Sumner from Wanborough, chair of the East Swindon Communities Group. He made it clear that they know they won’t stop development in the EDA, but they want a better scheme put forward that would reduce numbers and include clearer solutions to transport, flooding and infrastructure problems. The position of South Marston Parish Council is very similar. We objected to major parts of the scheme and it is being re-written at the moment.
Where we differ is that we have not challenged the number of houses to be built in the same way. We fear that if the number to be built to the south of the railway is reduced, then the number to be built to the north, i.e. around the village, may be increased.
All of the land to the South of the village is owned by developers. Their aim is to build as many houses on it as possible. The question is whether the village works with the Swindon planners to determine what is built or whether we leave it for the developers to put forward their scheme.
Over the next few weeks, I hope we can all work together, to reach a consensus on the best way forward, or at least have more understanding of our different views and why we hold them.