As part of a project to capture aerial footage of the land within the New Eastern Villages development area, we have given Swindon Borough Council permission to land a drone on the Recreation Ground.
The drone will be shooting footage and landing on the Recreation Ground as needed. The drone controllers will be ensuring that it does not land near residents or interfere with any activities taking place.
Keep an eye open and give it a wave if you see it!
Swindon Borough Council are hosting two more drop-in events to allow residents to view the proposed plans for road network for the New Eastern Villages.
Details of both events are below.
Parish Councillors attended the exhibition at the Coleview Community Centre on 23rd January 2018 to view the Borough’s proposals for the A419/A420 corridors. The plans are also displayed on the SBC website and can be seen here.
The preferred option for the White Hart roundabout is similar to that proposed last year, but with more detail. It confirms that, contrary to recent rumours, there was never a proposal to close Ermin Street, which would now join up with Oxford Road opposite the White Hart pub.
This means the existing access from the White Hart roundabout up to Ermin Street can be closed, allowing the construction of a northern slip road onto the A420.
The plans for the White Hart show a footpath on the inner edge of the roundabout, with access from Oxford Road north and from the A420 side being given by light-controlled crossings. The Parish Council has previously argued against this and we have re-iterated our concerns.
The main change to the plans is that there is now an additional access from Covingham via the Merlin Way roundabout onto the White Hart roundabout, similar to the current arrangement, instead of having to negotiate Oxford Road to access the A419 north and A420 east.
Although the alternative “diamond interchange” at the White Hart was also on display, it is acknowledged that this may not be viable due to cost.
The route of the proposed new bridge across the A419, the ‘Great Stall Bridge’, was shown joining Merlin Way roundabout, but gave no details as to whether this will be a priority bus route or for general traffic. Indeed, there seems to be some question as to whether there is sufficient funding for the bridge without seeking more in the way of developer contribution, which might result in less money for other infrastructure.
There is no detail yet on traffic improvements along Oxford Road, particularly at the Nythe Road junction, which we see as a key element of any scheme.
There are still many issues to resolve, and the Parish Council has some concerns about the detailed pedestrian and cycle links, so liaison with highways officers in SBC will be continued.
Having first been submitted in November 2013, the application for 2,380 houses in South Marston and Rowborough was granted by SBC planning committee on 14th November 2017. The outline Planning Permission is constrained by a large number of planning conditions and subject to agreed financial obligations – the developer money required to fund essential infrastructure. The conditions also state where further work is required under reserved matters applications, prior to detailed planning applications coming forward across the site.
The 98 page report by officers covered the history of the application and the range and nature of consultation responses that had shaped revisions to plans over the past three years. The Strategic Planning Group gave input to SBC officers in the last couple of weeks over the exact wording of the planning conditions. An example is the requirement for the new link road from Thornhill Rd to OVL to be in place prior to any building east of the village, to safeguard the village roads from construction traffic. On behalf of the Parish Council, The PC Chair spoke at the meeting in support of the grant of permission which allows everyone to move onto the next stages.
The headline conditions are:
- The housing at South Marston is restricted to 500 units, of which 23% will be affordable; at Rowborough it is restricted to 1830 units, of which 23% will be affordable
- The route of the link road between Thornhill Rd and OVL must be ‘tortuous’ to deter rat-running and run through the relevant housing parcels. Two roads will connect Rowborough with Old Vicarage Lane, but the most northerly must be designed to deter use of the link road as an alternative to the A420.
- Primary school provision will be via the expansion of the school site onto the existing Recreation Ground in exchange for compensatory land. The fall-back position of an additional new school south of the development will not be pursued unless the developers can show the preferred option cannot come forward in a timely fashion.
- The developers will transfer ownership of the field behind Bell Gardens plus the new allotments at South Marston and Rowborough to SMPC; a management strategy for other open space and green infrastructure will not preclude SMPC taking on further responsibilities should they wish
- The new eastern access tunnel from Rowborough to the A420 must be constructed and available for use when more than 1,200 houses are built at Rowborough.
- A ‘Strategic’ Design Code must be developed, consulted upon and agreed in advance of any ‘reserved matters’ planning applications. The Strategic Code is where proposals for the internal road layout, architectural character, landscaping and open space, foul and surface water drainage, rights of way and related matters can be developed in line with the SM Neighbourhood Plan. More detailed design codes for each housing area must then be submitted and agreed prior to any detailed planning applications being submitted.
- The design of the road junctions on Thornhill and OVL are subject to further work
- A phasing plan for completion of different aspects of construction must be submitted and agreed prior to any construction work taking place.
- Limits on development are subject to the timing for Thames Water to supply fresh water and capacity and infrastructure to cope with waste water and sewer disposal
- The developers have to ensure that the ‘noise issue’ from Steris has been solved to comply with the outline planning conditions.
The scale of financial planning obligations is more or less as required by the SBC Planning Obligations SPD, with the exception of a reduction in the number of affordable homes on the development and contribution to adult social care. The amount of funding offered towards developing the Village Centre at South Marston (£1.6 million) is significantly more than the figure required by the SPD.
Whilst two key points in particular – the trigger point at Rowborough for the tunnel and the second road from Rowborough to OVL – are not as we wish, the other conditions and the package of infrastructure obligations are better than we previously anticipated.
Sylvia Brown, on behalf of South Marston Parish Council.
Note from the Clerk: The Parish Council are continuing to work with the developers and Swindon Borough Council and regularly report on progress in the monthly Parish Council meetings. Full minutes of these meetings can be found here Minutes of monthly Council meetings
At today’s Neighbourhood Plan referendum, over 95% of those that voted said yes to the Neighbourhood Plan being adopted.
The turnout at 47% exceeded the recent votes for neighbourhood plans in Highworth and Wroughton.
Chair of South Marston Parish Council, Colin McEwen, said “this is a good result for village; it gives us a lever in negotiations with both the developers and the planning officers.
We would like to thank everybody who voted and in particular, those who contributed to the development of the neighbourhood plan.”