Advertiser: South Marston buildings face bulldozer

Swindon Advertiser today ran the following article:

EYESORES at two brownfield sites in South Marston might finally be bulldozed under plans for more than 160 new homes, which would also create a vital village footpath.

Industrial buildings straddling Thornhill Road, at the Thornhill Industrial Estate, some of which are derelict, are the subject of the widely-publicised application by Fallen Oak Properties and Crown Timbers.

The estate is split, with separate applications for the Crown Timber site to the north of the road and the active business park to the south, which would be the subject of a larger redevelopment.

At the bigger plot, there are plans for 115 dwellings, ranging from two to four bedrooms, with a children’s play area at the centre.

There would be 47 dwellings at the Crown Timber site, with a variety of one to four-bedroom flats and houses. This site would be developed first.

Consultations to gauge public reaction to the proposals were staged at Mercure Swindon South Marston Hotel in March last year, where 12 of 41 attendees supported the proposals.

South Marston Parish Council and Swindon Council have been in discussions with both the applicants and agents Walsingham Planning since early 2014.

Barry Thunder, of the parish council, said the application was largely agreeable to the community, but the inclusion of a footpath connecting the new development with the village was crucial.

We have been quite involved in the design and pre-submission material with the architects,” he said. “In essence, it’s a plot that we have really encouraged them to develop. It’s a real visual eyesore at the moment. We suggested it would be very favourable if in building the estate, they put in a connecting pavement access. Their plans seem to allow that to happen and we give that massive encouragement, providing all the bits and pieces fit in.

What is not yet clear with the future of these plans, is what becomes of the businesses currently operating out of the larger southern plot.

In its design and access statement for the proposals, Walsingham Planning said: “These businesses would need to relocate to enable redevelopment of the site.

Nobody was available at the organisation to expand on this statement yesterday, with little else in the planning application to suggest whether any agreements were already in place for such relocations.

My basic understanding is the Thornhill site is owned by multiple landowners, some of whom are very long-standing businesses, all of which would have to agree to move on,” said Barry. “I would suggest, unless there’s a lot of help from Swindon Council to offer brownfield sites with good road access, I can’t see them moving. My personal view is the bigger site has much more work to be done. They’re looking for an indication their application would be successful, should they be able to get people to relocate.”

To view the applications and make comments, visit Swindon Council’s planning portal and search for: S/OUT/14/2058 or S/OUT/14/2059

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