Swindon Advertiser reports the latest news about the East Swindon Communities Group, and the Eastern Development Area.
CAMPAIGNERS against development to the east and west of Swindon – totalling 15,000 homes, have joined forces to call for more robust safeguards.
They have called for Swindon Council to set in stone requirements for roads, schools and other facilities to be in place before a single house is built.
There is strong opposition against plans to build 12,000 homes at the Eastern Development Area and 3,000 homes just over the Wiltshire border to the west of Swindon.
Protesters say if development has to be accommodated there should be assurances the necessary infrastructure will be provided and paid for.
There are calls for stricter requirements to be included as part of Swindon Council’s Core Strategy – a planning blueprint for Swindon over the next two decades.
Coun Nick Martin (Con, Shaw and Nine Elms) pictured, top, organised a meeting earlier this week to gauge public reaction to plans by Wiltshire Council to build 3,000 new homes at Pry Farm and Ridgeway Farm.
He is worried that Wiltshire Council will “piggyback” on Swindon, putting extra pressures on the town’s facilities – including roads, healthcare, schools and drainage – as well as increasing the risks of flooding.
Coun Martin said: “The meeting showed us there is a real strength of feeling against this development. The next step is to lobby the MPs and talk to Wiltshire Council.
“The core strategy needs to make it very clear that we will be guaranteed amenities that would be vital if this development is going to go ahead – in terms of transport and education particularly.
“We have to make sure we are prepared but we have to make it clear that we oppose this development.”
Gary Sumner, of the East Swindon Communities Group, pictured, below, echoed Coun Martin’s sentiments with regard to the EDA – a plan for 12,000 homes east of the A419 between South Marston and Wanborough.
He said: “The core strategy is a big document but actually has very little to say on the EDA.
“I don’t feel people are well enough informed about this development and there should be more consultation.
“There is also very little information about the infrastructure that would be needed.
“That is a crucial element of the development that needs to be tackled.
“We don’t object to Swindon expanding but we do feel there should be better public consultation.”
Both developments are part of the 37,000 new homes the Government has insisted be built in Swindon over the next two decades.
A Swindon council spokesman said: “We believe the Core Strategy is sufficiently strong to ensure that appropriate and necessary infrastructure is in place before any development is built.”