IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU GET YOUR COMMENTS IN TO THE SWINDON PLANNING DEPARTMENT BEFORE THE END OF DECEMBER
Comments can be made by searching ‘Swindon S/OUT/13/1555’, where the full application and a non-technical summary can also be viewed.
Boards from the Developer Exhibition
The Parish Council Expansion Working Group has regularly sought village opinion and worked with Swindon Borough Council to develop a blueprint for development within South Marston village and the wider expansion area. The two draft Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) are now due to be examined as part of the overall Swindon Borough Local Plan. We have also been in dialogue with the developers over the last 18 months to try to ensure that what they put forward is the best possible for the village.
The application submitted by the Developers is similar to the SPDs in many ways, but the Parish Council Expansion Working Group has major concerns:
- We object to the additional housing taken for residential building at South Marston compared with the SPD, both in numbers and land allocation. The South Marston SPD proposed just 500 on the developer-controlled land, but this has been increased to 580 in this planning application. We are already expecting a tripling of the size of the village and wish to retain the village identity.
- The Developer’s figures predict an increase in daily traffic at the Thornhill Road exit onto the A420 at the Sainsbury’s roundabout from 5,108 now to 8,336 in 2026, with a 48% increase during the morning rush hour. They believe that widening the junction will be adequate to deal with this increased flow. We dispute this. Traffic from Saint Margaret’s Park (Dunelm) increases the difficulty of exiting the junction, and no allowance has been made for Rowborough traffic using the proposed link road to this junction rather than joining the rush hour queue on the A420 at the Carpenter’s Arms.
- We object to the proposed link road across the South Marston SPD site which will serve as a route for Rowborough traffic, confirmed by the significant roundabout at its junction with Old Vicarage Lane (OVL). This is contrary to the Village SPD. The proposed road never reaches the central parcels of housing development or the intended site of the new Village Hall so is of little value for internal village traffic. It is also an unwanted opportunity for further development.
- We do not understand why there are two roads from Rowborough onto Old Vicarage Lane unless it is to act as an eventual alternative to the provision of the expensive tunnel under the railway for access between the A420 and Rowborough or to more easily feed Rowborough traffic onto the link road
- The traffic model assumptions are that no Rowborough traffic will use the link road. We do not accept this. They also assume that the ‘Green Bridge’ over the A419 from the development south of the A420 will be built. What guarantee is there of this?
- What is the intended phasing of the development? Is it intended that South Marston will be completed before Rowborough is started? What will be the trigger points for the building of the tunnel from Rowborough onto the A420? The school expansion? The new Community facilities?
- The development of a village centre, with appropriate road and footpath links to the development, is the key to providing a sustainable development in SM and should be considered within the planning application rather than as an afterthought. There is virtually nothing about this. How will it be brought into the plan? Similarly the development of the land behind the hotel will have an impact on the village centre. Are the developers working with with the owner and his advisers and making every effort to maximise the integration of the plans?
- No relevance has been given to preserving views of the Downs, from either village.
- What are the plans for preserving existing hedgerows and trees?
- Flood risk: Although there are proposals for managing surface water and flooding, what will happen if we have another 2007 event?
- School: The location of the expanded school has, in the past, been contentious. The only proposal that is financially acceptable to the Swindon Local Education Authority (LEA) is to expand the existing site, preserving the Victorian part of the building. This has now been agreed by the Parish Council and is in the Village SPD. The school Governing Body are starting to look at the implications of implementation with the LEA. The Developers will have to contribute the major portion of the cost, based on the number of houses being built.
The Developers have been fully aware, for the past two years, of the analysis commissioned by the Borough, including the significant cost differentials for the LEA. They said nothing then, but are now suggesting that it would be more profitable for them if they built a new school on a new site. There are significant obstacles to be overcome here and we are not sure whether the developers are serious or trying to deflect village opinion and debate away from the fundamental issues of the traffic routes, and the quality of other infrastructure proposed under their plan.
There will be a significant amount of work to come before the detail of what is built is decided – the Parish Council would welcome volunteers for this
We are also seeking to recruit 2 new Parish Councillors!! Please contact our Clerk, Amanda Burchell, at firstname.lastname@example.org