RESIDENTS fear an application for a 2,380-home development, set to dwarf neighbouring South Marston, is jumping the gun before the town’s future housing blueprint is set in stone next year. The application, which was submitted to Swindon Council last week shows an area at least four times the size of South Marston marked out for development by Hallam Land Management Limited, Hannick Homes and Developments and Taylor Wimpey.
The 162-hectare site will stretch from the Thornhill Road junction with the A420 east to Acorn Bridge and north up to Nightingale Farm.
The plans were submitted months before the Local Plan is set to be agreed and a week after Government-appointed planning inspector Mike Fox raised concerns about the provision of infrastructure in Swindon’s Local Plan at an exploratory meeting at the Steam Museum.
Now there are fears that developers are trying to take advantage of Government rules and develop the land before local guidance is formalised and adequate infrastructure is in place.
Sylvia Brown, the vice-chairman of South Marston Parish Council, said: “We know we are going to get significant housing here, so we are keen for developers to work with the village to make sure that the development takes place in the best possible way. The main issue is the road infrastructure for the whole of the Eastern Villages development. They need to make sure flooding is addressed and the junctions on to the A420 are properly planned.”
But Dale Heenan, the cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said: “Residents will be concerned that a developer is trying to jump the gun before the Local Plan is agreed. However, Swindon Borough Council and South Marston Parish Council have done a lot of good work together over the last two years to establish additional planning policies which sets out what is acceptable, and what is not acceptable for development in and around the village. The South Marston policy will be used as part of the decision making process, and it is too early to tell how good or bad the submitted planning application is.”
A spokesman for David Lock Associates, the agents for the application, said: “David Lock Associates say that the area to the east of Swindon has been identified as a potential area for growth for a number of years and has been subject to numerous rounds of consultation as part of the Regional Spatial Strategy process and now the emerging Swindon Local Plan.
“The Local Plan is currently being examined by a planning inspector and one area that he will scrutinise will be the deliverability of schemes identified in the plan to meet the housing requirement for Swindon.”
Residents have until December 5 to view and comment on the plans before the consultation period ends.
Click here to see all of South Marston websites previous posts on this subject.
The planning application is available here.