Tag Archives: Colin McEwen

Parish Council News – Oct 2012


The Parish Council currently has a short waiting list for allotments. If you wish to be added to the waiting list, please contact the Parish Clerk.

2 Parish Councillor Vacancies

South Marston Parish Council currently has vacancies for two positions on the Parish Council.

If you would like to know more about becoming a Parish Councillor and would be interested in joining the team, please contact the Parish Clerk on 01793 820529 or email: clerksmpc@aol.com.

Please note that Parish Council meetings are held the third Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.

Community Grants

There are small grants available for community projects and there are not enough people applying for them. Pam Gough, the North-East Locality Lead for Swindon Borough Council, joined us at the September Parish Council meeting and has given us all the details.

If you are interested in accessing this funding please contact our Parish Clerk, Gemma who is happy to help you fill out the application forms. The deadline for applications is 5th January 2013.

Village Expansion Update

Of biggest concern to the Parish Council (PC) at the moment is the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). The CIL controls how much money the developers have to pay to Swindon Borough Council (SBC) for infrastructure costs such as roads, drainage and facility improvements such as the school. There is a concern that this levy could be spent in other areas of Swindon to meet wider SBC priorities rather than supporting the South Marston development.

On the 12th June 2012 the PC together with the Village Expansion working party, Officers of SBC together with representatives of the Developers Consortium, presented a number of stands giving information and ideas on what was known at the time about the potential housing development within South Marston village and the wider Eastern Villages development area.

The PC has been working with SBC on documents so that we will have a degree of control on how this potential development is shaped, and the planning and location of necessary infrastructure, such as Road Layout, School, Village Centre etc. This critical work is known as a Supplementary Planning Document (dSPD) and will be in draft form as, once written, it then has to go through a series of public consultative stages.

However, the village SPD has to reflect the overall policies that SBC has for the future of the Borough to 2026; this is contained in the Swindon Core Strategy. A delay by SBC has now meant that the Core Strategy will not be adopted until well into next year, after it has gone through its pubic consultation stages.

This means that the dSPD will also be delayed. We are currently in discussion with SBC to determine if the dSPD can be moved forward as an interim document.

Once we have a clear view of the way forward on these issues, the Parish Council intends to hold further consultations with village residents.

To add an additional layer of complexity to the above, the Government have also introduced new policies. The two that affect us the most are the National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). The Parish Council is currently responding to SBC on the public consultation on CIL. This is a highly complex issue requiring a high degree of understanding and time spent on the response. Sylvia Brown and Colin McEwen continue to spend a significant amount of time and energy weekly assessing the full implications of these new policies on our village.

On a final note we have been made aware that the developers’ consortium for the housing south of the A420 has broken up. The impact of this is not, as yet, clear, but our priority is to make sure that all developers share the cost of providing appropriate infrastructure.

We will keep you informed when we know more. If you would like further information on the above or would like to become more involved with these issues, then please contact the Parish Clerk, Gemma Cheal.

Parish Council Meetings

Members of the public are welcome to attend Parish Council meetings which are held on the third Tuesday of the month, at 7.30pm in the Village Hall. There is an “Open 10 Minutes” section at the start of the meeting where you are invited to ask questions or discuss an agenda item. It would be helpful if you could inform the Chairman at the start of the meeting of any items that you wish to raise or discuss. All agendas are published on the village website and on the village notice boards, prior to the meetings.

Photos of flooding 29/4/2012 – updated

During the heavy rain and subsequent flooding on 29th April 2012, Colin McEwen took the opportunity to drive around the village and photograph areas where it was apparent that drainage was inadequate and surface water had gathered, and culverts were close to overflowing. These photos were shown at the development presentation last week. I have now managed to get the photos available online, and together with a map indicating where the photos were taken.

The photos are available here. You no longer need to log in to be able to see them. Follow the ‘map’ link on the right hand side to see the different areas affected.

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Advertiser – Fears over expansion

Swindon Advertiser recently ran an article regarding the fears of locals over the uncertain nature of the councils expansion plans:

THE eastern villages expansion and protection against wind farms are some of the key issues in the new St Margaret and South Marston ward.

The ward, made up of some of the existing St Margaret and Blunsdon wards, covers Stratton St Margaret, Lower Stratton, Kingsdown and South Marston.

Colin McEwen, a long-serving parish councillor and former chairman of South Marston Parish Council, said he wanted the new borough councillors to ensure the community has a say over the quality and design of the new Eastern Villages.  Continue reading Advertiser – Fears over expansion

Swindon Advertiser – Ill Wind slam Honda’s compromise plans

A wind turbine at Greenpark, Reading, England,...
Image via Wikipedia

Swindon Advertiser today ran an article regarding the upcoming planning meeting regarding Honda’s planning application for Wind Turbines on their site.

WIND turbine campaigners have slammed Honda’s formal offer to compromise over its plans – days ahead of a meeting to decide whether the controversial project can go ahead.

The car firm says it still wants to build three 120-metre turbines at its plant, in South Marston, but it is now offering Swindon Council the option to grant approval for only two turbines.

To support the alternative, Honda and green energy firm Ecotricity have submitted an additional environmental impact assessment document for just two turbines.

However, members of the Ill Wind campaign group say that removing the turbine – the one closest to Highworth Road – still means that two turbines will be too near to houses and could cause negative health effects.

A special meeting of the planning committee to determine the application will take place at the Wyvern Theatre on October 13 at 6pm, with doors opening at 5pm.

Des Fitzpatrick, 64, of South Marston, who is chairman of Ill Wind and will speak at the meeting, said: “They’re still applying for three, but even were they to apply for two, we wouldn’t be happy with that. What we’ve asked for is to see a minimum separation between turbines and houses of 2km and we’ve backed this up by saying this is a standard recommendation in Scotland and also on two bills in Parliament at the moment. So even with the two turbines option, they would be within 590 metres of residential housing so we wouldn’t be happy with that. “

“People typically think that the visual impact is the main concern, and of course that’s a concern: these turbines are half as big again as the David Murray John building. But also of great concern is the noise. There’s a lot of evidence that the closer you live to turbines, the more downsides there are. We have submitted evidence to the council that the turbines this close cause noise which will be detrimental to health and wellbeing.”

Andy West, 45, of Stratton, who is also a member of Ill Wind, said there was little difference in noise levels for many residents from the removal of the turbine – and claimed the only way to mitigate this would be to move the turbines further away.

He said: “It’s scant difference. The basic problem is no one should be living next to those turbines and people will be. You cannot play with people’s health like this.”

He added: “It’s critical that people go to the meeting to defend their homes and families.”

Colin McEwen, the former chairman of South Marston PC, said the two-turbine option would not really help South Marston.

He said: “It’s the turbine that’s closer to Stratton that may be removed so it doesn’t affect South Marston so much. The turbines closest to South Marston would remain even if that compromise was agreed. And those are just too big and too close to the village.

The turbines project is part of a bid by HUM to reduce its carbon emissions by a minimum of 30 per cent by 2020 to meet both environmental and financial pressures.

Mike Godfrey, the divisional manager and chief engineer at Honda UK Manufacturing (HUM), told the Adver this week, : “Either by design or through technical mitigations we have put in, the issues of flicker and vibration will not be an issue for our local residents.

“And that’s been verified by third party consultants, Halcrow, and approved by Swindon Borough Council’s planning officers.

To register to speak at the planning meeting, email Iain Tucker, the committee officer, at itucker@swindon.gov.uk or call 01793 463605 . The deadline to register is noon on October 12.

Village Expansion Update (revised) – August 2011

Following the village consultation exercise in May, which generally endorsed the principles for development proposed by the Parish Council Expansion Working Group, there have been further meetings with Swindon Borough Council and an initial meeting with the developers.
The timetable for the South Marston supplementary planning document has been put back three months due to the number of responses received by Swindon Borough Council to the draft Core Strategy and we hope to consult further with the village by November.
We are discussing options, locations and costings with SBC’s Education Department for the school and with the Highways Department regarding the proposed development at Rowborough, access onto the A420, Pound Corner and minimising through-traffic.
The developers say that their vision for the expansion of the village is not far apart from ours and we are to have more detailed discussions with them.
We are also meeting again with the Environment Agency to address flooding issues.

The Working Party will consult with villagers on options for expansion before the village SPD is drawn up by SBC.  The government’s localism agenda may support our influence, but its policy of promoting economic growth by building more houses supports the developers.

We will continue to keep everyone informed on future developments.
South Marston Parish Council

Village Green Application: School Size Planning Guidance

An application has been made to register the playing field as a Village Green, with the aim of not permitting any enclosure or development on it.

The village school sits in the corner of the field on a site of about 60meters square, which I calculate to be rather less than half a hectare. I have asked Martin Trewella, development planner at Swindon, to enquire of the likely requirements for the school if and when the proposed expansion of the village goes ahead. He replied as follows:. Continue reading Village Green Application: School Size Planning Guidance

Village Expansion Review Meeting – 7th Feb 2011

Villagers are invited to a meeting hosted by the Parish Council in the Village Hall at 7.30 on the 7th Feb. to preview two key documents prepared by Swindon Borough Council.

  1. The first draft of the draft Core Strategy that is to be released for public consultation in March and how this impacts on the village. See the Cabinet briefing paper for the 19th Jan. at http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=285&J=1
  2. The long awaited Transport Report on the traffic impact and road plans for the Eastern Development Area, to include South Marston, expected to be available.
  3. We will also explain why we propose applying for the village expansion to become a Vanguard Scheme under the Localism agenda. See: http://www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/planningsystem/neighbourhoodplanningvanguards/

Colin McEwen

Chair South Marston Parish Council

Swindon’s Expansion Strategy and South Marston

Swindon Borough Council’s planners are putting the finishing touches to a re-written Core Strategy that will set out the planned growth for the borough to 2026.

It is expected that growth projections will be significantly reduced from those imposed by the previous government’s plans and that the more expensive options for the Eastern Development Area will be shelved.

Villagers will recall that expansion of South Marston village was part of the previous draft Core Strategy and this has not altered. As before, the Parish Council were not consulted on this question.

What we have been consulted on are the terms of the development . I am pleased to say that the principle that the village should have a major say in the design of what is built has been incorporated into the draft Core Strategy.

This principle is founded on the relationship that the village has developed with the Borough Planners both on a personal level and, more importantly, the engagement in the process of you, the villagers.

It also ties in with David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ and the Localism Bill that the government published just before Christmas.

The draft Core Strategy is due to be presented to the Swindon Planning Committee on the 19th January. It will be viewable on the SBC website a week or so prior to this.

After acceptance by the SBC Planning Committee the finishing touches and any amendments will be incorporated in the draft for presentation to the SBC Cabinet in March and then it will be published for Public Consultation, whereafter the comments will be analysed and the draft amended, and in all probability go through another consultation process before being finally adopted some time in 2012.

All of which is screamingly tedious, particularly as this is the second time around!!!

The Core Strategy is the ‘mother’ document for our village plan, which therefore cannot get ahead of this timetable in terms of formal adoption. On the other hand, as previously reported, the developers who own and control the EDA land, to include that adjoining the village, have held a preliminary meeting with the SBC planners. If we step back from engagement we can expect to lose the position of influence that we currently enjoy.

One interesting possibility is this becoming a Vanguard Scheme under the Localism agenda. See the Neighbourhood Planning Vanguard website

Many uncertainties remain. We propose calling a full village meeting to review the apparent options for us to take the village design forward as soon as the draft Core Strategy becomes available.

Colin McEwen

Chair South Marston Parish Council

Village Expansion: Your chance to influence the Background Documents – Postponed

Note: Meeting on 23rd November @ 7:30 in the Village Hall

Meeting postponed. Revised date: TBD Continue reading Village Expansion: Your chance to influence the Background Documents – Postponed