‘NOT in my back yard’ is the usual response from many a picturesque village when a planning application for a large housing development lands on its doorstep.
But a village near Swindon is taking its future into its own hands by offering up land in the centre of the village to be built on.
Rather than an blanket objection to any houses being built in its environs, South Marston Parish Council has been working out where it might be able to accommodate a few extra families.
The village was earmarked for 1,200 new homes in the Regional Spatial Strategy, a planning blueprint for development over the next two decades which controversially proposed building 12,000 houses to the east of Swindon.
But after employing its own firm of planning consultants, the parish council it has drawn up plans for where it wants development.
Roger Powell, clerk of the parish council, said: “Part of the Regional Spatial Strategy is for 1,200 homes to be built in an area right up against South Marston village, but not including the village.
“We didn’t want a large development that wasn’t integrated into the village.
“Other villages have just said ‘no’ to any development but we felt that was not realistic and that there was always going to be some development going on. So it seemed sensible for us to put forward our own proposals.”
Swindon Council has worked with the parish and has allowed it to create a supplementary planning document for South Marston.
This proposes that development should be on land immediately to the south of the village, between the village and the railway line and the A420, as well as various ‘brownfield’ sites within the village itself.
The hope is that by deciding how many new houses it would like, the village will be in a better position to ask for improved public services such as a community hall or shop.
Colin McEwan, chairman of the parish council, said: “The parish council is paying for its own planning consultants to help us to design an attractive and viable place to live.
“We are under threat of having to accept too many houses attached to the village because we are squeezed by two plans.
“Our strength is for the villagers, with professional help, to design a properly functioning community that takes account of Swindon’s need for growth, but is not dominated by it.”
Two public meetings are taking place in the village to decide what villagers would like to see.
The first is tomorrow at the South Marston Hotel at 7pm with the other on Thursday, May 27, in the village hall at 7.30pm.
Villagers are invited to contact Mr Powell on 01793 827515 for details and to register their interest in advance.
The original article is available from here.
What are your thoughts on this? Leave your comments below as to whether you think that this is the right approach for the village.