‘NOT in my back yard’ is the usual response from many a picturesque village when a planning application for a large housing development lands on its doorstep.
But a village near Swindon is taking its future into its own hands by offering up land in the centre of the village to be built on.
Rather than an blanket objection to any houses being built in its environs, South Marston Parish Council has been working out where it might be able to accommodate a few extra families. Continue reading Swindon Advertiser – Council puts forward its own scheme
The Tories have put out their Planning Green Paper. I thought you’d be interested in what they are saying about transition arrangements which they plan to take effect between abolition of regional planning targets (as early as possible in their term of office) and implementation of their ‘Open Source’ Planning system which allows local planning authorities the freedom to decide on their own local plans:
While we are confident that the combination of collaborative democracy and our council tax, business rates and local tariff incentives will be sufficiently persuasive to encourage local authorities to embrace development, we will also legislate to ensure that the production of new local plans will be achieved within a reasonable timescale.
Specifically, we will legislate that if new local plans have not been completed within a prescribed period, then the presumption in favour of sustainable development will automatically apply. In other words, if a local planning authority does not get its local plan finalised in reasonable time, it will be deemed to have an entirely permissive planning approach, so all planning applications will be accepted automatically if they conform with national planning guidance. We will also put in place transitional arrangements to cover the implementation of our new planning system.
On the question of projected housing numbers, local planning authorities have already projected the number of houses they (as opposed to the regional authorities) believed would be necessary by 2026 for local needs – the so-called Option1 numbers – and where they might most sustainably be developed.
Unfortunately the present Government refused to believe that local authorities were capable of accurately gauging future local housing demand and, in many cases, interposed to impose significantly higher housing targets. We believe that the original, locally generated estimates are a reasonable assessment of housing need, including affordable housing. We therefore expect that these Option 1 numbers will be used by local authorities as the base-line for the projections that they provide to neighbourhoods at the start of the collaborative planning process, and will be used as provisional housing numbers in their Local Development Frameworks until their new local plans are completed.
If I read all of this correctly, it means that the developers have free rein if Swindon’s local plan is not completed in ‘reasonable time’. Furthermore, the original figures agreed by Swindon for the period to 2026 (which I believe are 5,000 or so short of what was eventually imposed on them by the region) will stand as the projections on which they must build their local plan.
NB. The Tory collaborative democracy model for bottom-up planning is absolutely in line with what South Marston is doing, but at the moment, it does not mean local people can veto decisions that will make it impossible for the local planning authority to deliver the target numbers that they, themselves, have determined are necessary. See above (my underlining)
People opposed to plans to build 12,000 homes to the east of Swindon believe their views are being ignored.
They claimed at a meeting to discuss the Eastern Development Area that local objections will have no weight and that those in power have not taken into account the implications on the infrastructure of Swindon.
Residents joined councillors in calling for greater self-determination and power over planning decisions at local level.
Continue reading Resident’s Fury over 12,000 homes plan
Swindon Advertiser reports the latest news about the East Swindon Communities Group, and the Eastern Development Area.
CAMPAIGNERS against development to the east and west of Swindon – totalling 15,000 homes, have joined forces to call for more robust safeguards.
They have called for Swindon Council to set in stone requirements for roads, schools and other facilities to be in place before a single house is built. Continue reading Swindon Advertiser – Houses’ protest grows bigger
Members of a close-knit community have expressed fears about the repercussions of building 12,000 homes just east of the A419.
The comments came at a meeting at Covingham Park Primary School where more than 50 people gathered to discuss the Government’s Eastern Development Area (EDA).
Covingham residents said their greatest concerns included an increase in flooding, traffic, crime and the loss of an area of outstanding beauty.
EDA homes are to be built north and south of the A420 in Covingham, Wanborough and South Marston on 300 hectares of land.
The area has been identified by the Government’s Regional Spatial Strategy to help Swindon meet targets for new homes over the next 20 years.
Outgoing North Swindon MP Michael Wills, who organised the meeting, in order to bring members of the community together, and to stir discussion, said he was neither opposed nor for the development.
Mr Wills said he hoped to organise another meeting, along with Covingham Parish Council, in January with professional and independent planners to help guide residents through the EDA’s plans.
The letter reproduced below was sent from Rod Bluh, Leader of Swindon Borough Council, to Gary Sumner of the Eastern Swindon Communities Group.
It aims to clarify the councils position regarding the EDA, in light of recent articles in Swindon Advertiser.