Email from MP Justin Tomlinson regarding the South Marston Hotel Development

In response to the article about his visit to the South Marston Hotel Development, MP Justin Tomlinson was asked to clarify his position on the development.

From: TOMLINSON, Justin <justin.tomlinson.mp@parliament.uk>

Date: 30 November 2010 21:35

Subject: RE: South Marston

To: Colin McEwen <ChairSMPC@southmarston.org.uk>

Having been invited to view a brief presentation on a potential development adjacent to the South Marston Hotel, I am very happy to set out my thoughts.

I firmly support Conservative plans to devolve planning decisions to local communities. It should be for you, and you alone as the local community to judge as to whether any proposed development is appropriate. As a former Borough Councillor for the Abbey Meads ward for 10 years, I have seen firsthand just how important it is for local residents to shape local development. Therefore it is essential that I clarify, my comments related to the type of proposed development, with regards that we as a town are short of high quality housing. The location of any potential development is not for me to judge, but that of local residents.

In my role as the local MP, I have raised these issues in Parliament on a number of occasions, including proposals to change the law to strengthen the hand of local residents and communities.

I have support the principle of new housing, whilst there is local demand, but it should always be on the basis of appropriate, high quality developments.

It is for you as the local residents to decide whether any proposed development at the South Marston Hotel, is, or isn’t appropriate.

Justin Tomlinson

North Swindon Conservative MP

Please visit my website to see how I am representing you: www.justintomlinson.com

North Swindon covers: Abbey Meads, Blunsdon, Covingham & Nythe, Gorse Hill & Pinehurst, Haydon Wick, Highworth, Moredon, Penhill, St Philip, Stratton St. Margaret and Western wards.

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7 thoughts on “Email from MP Justin Tomlinson regarding the South Marston Hotel Development”

  1. I welcome Justin’s comments which is no different from what was said at the time, and in the article. Once again we see the PC and most notably Colin McEwen objecting to the building of a small development that would enhance the village as well as providing much needed facilities for the village.

    As I have said before this pre-occupation some on the PC have, ‘my way or no way’ is damaging South Marston and potentially leading to uncontrolled building, because in the not to distant future on of the companies with options on huge swathes of land will submit an application and will go to appeal, and in my view win.

    If we supported and encourage small clusters of houses as a village we could rightly say to any planning inspector, the village has provided the quantity of houses previously agreed, so is it right for us to have more.

    To object to proposals that would bring real benefits to the village now, and not in some dim distant future time, seems to me to be positively irresponsible of the Parish Council, and it is clear from Justin’s email to Mr McEwan who is responsible.

    1. Villagers will already be aware that the draft Eastern Development Area SPD published by the borough last year contemplated in the order of 3,500 houses being built north of the railway. The larger part were proposed for ‘East Marston’ (Rowborough) but 22 ha of land adjoining the village was earmarked for housing.
      I do not see that supporting applications for one-off ‘small clusters of houses’ stands any realistic chance of stopping this process
      The developers who control the EDA land met with the Swindon Borough Council recently and were encouraged to meet with us and to tap into the work that the village has done towards an acceptable integrated plan.
      Further, the Swindon planners have made it clear that they would not be happy with such a strategy as it would not lead to a coherent development or have a means of planning or paying for an adequate infrastructure.
      By way of example, the overall expansion is likely to require an extended school, new sports pavilion and upgraded entrances onto the A420. Unless this infrastructure is planned and the cost is allocated as between the developments there will be no funding for them and they will not get built.

      Justin Tomlinson’s email is also interesting for his emphasis on the role of the local community in determining ‘whether any proposed development is appropriate’. He has asked to be kept informed as we lock horns with the developers.
      Colin McEwen

  2. These are the same old arguments that have been put numerous times over the time I have been in the village. The road infrastructure issues as Colin well knows are hardly likely to result in any new accesses off the A420, the Civil Engineering difficulties , let alone the cost and archaeological considerations would make such an option virtually impossible.

    The formation of a one way system via Thornhill and Manor Farm Lane remains the most viable and sensible option and with the Hotel proposal providing a good proportion of the cost.

    Of course Justin’s email talks of community involvement but if the community in South Marston had it’s way then nothing would be built, I am not unsympathetic to that view. That clearly is not an option and Justin also stated the proposed cluster of houses ticked all the right boxes to encourage business to Swindon, which ultimately would benefit the village, hotel and both pubs.

    I am mindful of the fact that the PC previously objected to the building of my motel. with equally spurious reasons, in the end the Planners saw through that, albeit it took me 18 months to get planning.

    As I have said there is no good reason to refuse this small development unless this of course has personal undertones.

  3. For those villagers who are not aware the plans for these houses are now on display in the reception area of the South Marston Hotel. I would re-iterate that the profit from these houses would be used to further develop the hotel, providing more jobs and monies set aside for the upgrades to various community facilities.

    An application is to be submitted, please give your support in recognition that Paul Cripps has invested well over a million pounds in the hotel which has benefited many in the village and beyond.

  4. As a first time reader of this site and casual reader of the Evening Advertiser website, I should point out I feel obliged to point out that Mr Feal Martinez has a beneficial interest in the South Marston Hotel which no doubt the Parish Council is aware of as his Motel site advertises the use of facilities there being available to his residents. In that respect I would suggest he forms biassed opinion. In my view S.Marston has to resist swathes of building projects to protect a lovely little village.

  5. Mr Richardson, given that this is a matter of public record, ie it is on my website which is also available via this website I hardly think it would surprise anyone. Having said that I objected to the original plan put together which was for high density housing and told the owner and architect so.

    The plans now tick every single box that the village say they want from small development. Fourteen Houses, now to be reduced to just 10 on a Hectare of land is hardly swathes.

    I am tempted to ask Mr Richardson do you by chance post on the Swindon Advertiser using a nom de plume

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