THE fightback against a plan for new factories and 7,500 homes is set to begin.
At least 100 residents are expected to flock to a public meeting about the Eastern Villages proposal, which would see up to five clusters of homes and an industrial park built to the east of the A419.
The development would be only slightly smaller than the one planned at Coate, but would be spread over a more scattered area between Wanborough and South Marston.
Now the first large-scale gathering to discuss it is to to take place, when the director of planning, Dave Potter, will address residents at a meeting of Wanborough Parish Council.
Coun Gary Sumner said: “South Marston had a number of large industrial developments on the edge of it, and it blighted it.”
“This will have that effect. Put the housing aside for one second, and take the industrial development.
“Where are the lorries going to go? They’re going to go either into the Dorcan area to reach the motorway network, or they’ll drive through Covingham and Commonhead.
“And the only improvement to the road network is traffic lights at Commonhead. That’s not enough to deal with the traffic problem.”
He also said that labelling the closely-linked patches of housing as “villages” was nothing but a marketing tool.
“Living in a village sounds a lot nicer than living in a 7,500-home housing development,” he said.
The Eastern Villages plan is part of the council’s draft Core Strategy, which is expected to go out to an eight-week public consultation shortly.
Simon Olive, 46, of Old Vicarage Lane, in South Marston, said: “A fair proportion of the villagers have strong feelings about the scale of the proposed development.
“Our industrial development around the village doesn’t look particularly attractive, and has led to more heavy goods vehicles cutting through the village when they shouldn’t.”
Council leader Rod Bluh (Con, Dorcan) said: “There are always fears and concerns about what development might bring.
“Developments in and around Swindon have been happening all the time, and will continue to happen in the future because the demand for housing is there.
“It’s not realistic to believe there can be no future developments. What is important is that we manage those to make sure they’re of the highest quality.”
The meeting will take place in Wanborough Village Hall at 7pm on April 4. Click here for further details. Meetings in other villages in the area are expected to take place in the coming weeks.
- Swindon’s Expansion Strategy and South Marston (southmarston.org.uk)
- Village Expansion Working Group Meeting (southmarston.org.uk)
- South Marston Transport Report and Study (southmarston.org.uk)