Tag Archives: Swindon Advertiser

Has Banksy been to South Marston?


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

An item of grafitti has been sprayed onto South Marston Hotel during the evening of Thursday 6th June 2013.

Speculation is rife that this could be the work of renowned Bristol-based artist, Banksy. Particularly as this follows on his known rat motif. In light of this, and the consideration of the possible value of such a work, the spray painting has now been covered with perspex to provide some protection.

Swindon Advertiser have also reported on this work:

The hotel’s deputy general manager, Steve Goulding, said: “The owner spotted it when he was coming in for a meeting and asked if anyone had seen it. He was jumping about because he is a big Banksy fan and he now wants to know if it is genuine or not. He made sure we covered it with perspex straight away so that nobody could paint over it. 

It must have been done on Thursday evening or early Friday morning because it was not there on Thursday when we do our usual checks. It just seems a bit weird that he would chose our hotel – he’s from Bristol and that’s where a lot of them are. 

We would like to know what people think and if there is an expert out there who could say whether it is a Banksy or not. It has caused a bit of a stir over the weekend with our guests and leisure members seeing it and it would be great to say that we have a Banksy at the hotel.”

Banksy has become a household name in the world of street art since the turn of the millennium and celebrity owners of his art include Christina Aguilera and Angelina Jolie.

One of the first conventional exhibitions of his art was held in a warehouse in 2000, but Banksy gave out only the street number for the building and not the street.

A number of fake Banksy’s have appeared as PR stunts across the country and people can now buy stencils of his work online.

Other examples of Banksy ‘rat’ paintings:

Banksy Toxic Waste
Banksy Toxic Waste (Photo credit: Noodlefish)
Banksy Hip Hop Rat
Banksy Hip Hop Rat (Photo credit: thetimchannel)
banksy mouse
banksy mouse (Photo credit: andres musta)

So what do you think: Is it the real deal, a PR stunt or a fake? Give us your comments.

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

Advertiser – Jubilee Street parties get the go-ahead

Street Party
Street Party (Photo credit: Phil W Shirley)

Swindon Advertiser yesterday ran an article explaining that the council has provided the go-ahead for street parties to be held in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, including South Marston:

FOUR street parties so far for the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations in June have been approved.

Swindon Council will be waiving all charges on street parties to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne.

Last year, there were concerns the council would be charging revellers to hold street parties on the day of the royal wedding, but this was eventually ruled out following a meeting with council officials.

A council spokesman said: “We have approved four so far, one in Abbey Meads, one in Liden, one in South Marston and one in Haydon End.

“They are all on different dates, running from Saturday, June 2 to Sunday, June 10 so it appears we may have them spread over the entire bank holiday week.”

This year, the council has issued a guidance form detailing all the main issues involved in street parties.

For more information visit www.swindon.gov.uk/ts/ts-roadshighways/Pages/ts-roadshighways-streetparties.aspx.

Anyone who needs any further advice or has any concerns regarding road closures for street parties is asked to contact the Street Works Team on: 01793 466380 or email: streetworks@swindon.gov.uk.

Advertiser – Honda disappointed at turbine decision

Swindon Advertiser today ran a more detailed article regarding the outcome of Thursdays planning committee meeting regarding Honda’s application for Wind Turbines:

The town’s second biggest employer has said bosses are disappointed after the council took the decision to reject their green plans.

On Thursday night, Swindon Council’s planning committee rejected Honda’s plans to put up three large wind turbines on its South Marston site.

It said the visual impact would be to much. Continue reading Advertiser – Honda disappointed at turbine decision

Advertiser: We’re not nimbys but we don’t want turbines here

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

Swindon Advertiser today ran the latest article regarding Hand/Ecotricity’s planning application for three wind turbines on the Honda site.

The controversial plan to put three turbines at the Honda plant, in South Marston, will come before the council’s planning committee on July 12.

There has been a campaign against the proposals since they were unveiled last summer, and lobby group Ill Wind intends to fill the council chamber when it is debated.

The full article is available here.

Advertiser – 7,500 homes? No, Thank You

Swindon Advertiser ran the following article, which describes some of the comments which came out of Mondays meeting at Wanborough regarding Swindons Core Strategy.

SWINDON Council has unveiled its blueprint for 7,500 homes and an industrial park in the east of Swindon, part of the Eastern Villages plan. Continue reading Advertiser – 7,500 homes? No, Thank You

Advertiser – “We don’t want these turbines”

Scott D’Arcy of Swindon Advertiser today posted an article regarding Ill Wind’s submission of the petition against the Wind Turbine planning application.

PROTESTERS against Honda’s plan to build three wind turbines have collected 1,800 names on a petition.

Members of the campaign group Ill Wind, which formed last summer to oppose the proposal for three 120m-high wind turbines at the car manufacturer’s South Marston plant, presented the list of names to Swindon Council ahead of a planning meeting next week.

The application, submitted by Honda in conjunction with energy firm Ecotricity, has suffered several setbacks and fierce opposition from residents in neighbouring Stratton St Margaret and South Marston.

It was initially due to go before the council’s planning committee in October last year but concerns were raised by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that the turbines might interfere with its radar.

Residents’ main concerns centred around noise levels, ‘shadow flicker’ and the height of the turbines.

But an Ecotricity spokesman said the three turbines combined would produce enough electricity to power 5,300 homes a year.

Andrew Davidson, 59, and Kay Long, 58, both of South Marston, presented the petition yesterday and said there was strong feeling among locals.

Mr Davidson said: “We are hoping that this will convey the strength of feeling with which people oppose this application.

“The nearest one is within 325 metres of a dwelling and they will overpower people’s homes and gardens and cause a huge and unnecessary detriment to them.

“It is absolutely not a case of nimbyism – we already have an industrial estate nearby.

“And we wouldn’t have a problem if these were the same size as the ones at Watchfield.

“Green energy is excellent as long as it is in the right place and these turbines are arguably not the right form of green energy anyway.

Mrs Long said: “Around two thirds of the signatures actually come from Stratton and the strength of feeling on the doorstep is very strong.

A spokesman for Honda said: “We are confident that our submitted application contains all the necessary detailed information needed by Swindon Borough Council to make an informed decision.”

The application is set to go before the planning committee meeting on Tuesday.

Other links:

BBC’s article

Advertiser: Bio-fuel plan for motor factory

Swindon Advertiser reports that Honda is now looking at options for a Bio-fuel plant to power its South Marston factory.

Honda has started an experiment which could eventually see its South Marston factory powered by fast-growing African grass called miscanthus.

The plan is to use the low-maintenance grass that can reach three metres tall and which is already burnt alongside coal in some UK power stations.

The crop, known as Elephant Grass, has already been planted on 65 acres on site at South Marston, but experts are quick to point out that it could be 20 years before the factory could run independently of the national grid.

Obviously the Government is aware about possible power shortages in years to come,” said Paul Ormond, the general manager of PR and corporate affairs with at Honda.

“At Honda we are driven by environmental concerns and are constantly conscious of reducing our carbon footprint.

“We plan to build a boiler which is capable of producing between five and 30 megawatts by 2015 which will be fed by a biomass, or renewable energy crop.

“I don’t want people to think that we are planning to build a power station like Didcot. I think the boiler will probably be the size of an average house,” he added.

Honda has been experimenting with the elephant grass for some years both in this country and Africa.

Powering the Swindon plant will require more than just the 65 acres of miscanthus currently under cultivation on site.

Honda is seeking to do a deal with local farmers in long-term growing contracts to supply the factory with the crop.

“This is still at the feasibility study stage on a long-term project,” said Mr Ormond.

“If it all comes together then perhaps in 10 years’ time we might have generated enough power to heat and light the factory. And if that continues successfully then 10 years after that we might have sufficient power to run the factory.”

Honda is negotiating with local farmers for long-term contracts although some are reluctant to grow the elephant grass because it takes potash out of the soil, which costs a lot to replace. Even though it takes the crop three years to generate money, farmers like to have a regular price rather than an erratic one like wheat.

Jonathan Scurlock, chief adviser on renewable energy with the National Farmers Union, said farmers were nervous about locking up their land to grow biomass crops like miscanthus because there was too much risk.

Advertiser: MoD concerns stalls Hondas wind turbine plans

Swindon Advertiser today reported about some MoD holding objections regarding the Wind Turbine development:

An objection from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has led to the decision over the proposal to build three wind turbines at the Honda plant being delayed.

The MoD has written to Swindon Council to stall the progress of the application, submitted by Honda and sustainable energy firm Ecotricity, so it can be determined whether the turbines will interfere with its radar devices.

The controversial plan to erect three turbines, 120m high at their peak, is now not set to be heard by the council’s planning committee before December at the earliest.

It was originally scheduled to be discussed this month.

An MoD spokesman said: “Wind turbines can affect a number of MoD activities and operations, including air traffic control and threat radars.

“The MoD must do what is necessary to ensure that national security, the safety of aircraft, and, indeed, the safety of aircrew and of people on the ground, are protected through proper safeguarding of those radars.

“All wind farm applications are assessed on a site by site basis.

“The MoD is committed to Government targets for renewable energy and whenever possible we seek to work with wind farm developers to find a mutually acceptable solution.

“The effects of wind turbines on radar are complex and the MoD is working in a number of areas to address the effects of turbines on radar.”

Mike Cheshire, public relations manager for Ecotricity, said the company was aware of the issue and it was not uncommon.

The latest we know is that the MoD is working with BAE systems to look into the issue,” he said.

When they put in an objection it’s often a holding objection rather than them objecting in principle. They are waiting for a technical document to see what is possible. It’s not uncommon for things like this.

“The planning process moves quite slowly and deliberately but that’s so that they can make sure they have got all the evidence in front of them before making a decision.”

The full article is available here.

Advertiser: Turbine protests reaches new heights

Swindon Advertiser today ran an article about last Friday’s blimp flight:

CAMPAIGNERS against the plan for three turbines at the Honda plant managed to beat the wind in their second attempt to demonstrate the potential visual impact on residents.

Protest group Ill Wind suffered a blow last month when strong gales saw their balloon crash to the ground after just a few hours. They had planned for it to fly at 120m to represent the highest height of the proposed wind turbines at the South Marston site.

But yesterday a balloon, which costs £750-a-time to hire, was flying all day, after being given the green light by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and caught the eye of residents even as far afield as Greenbridge.

Neil Burchell, group chairman, said: “There was very little wind so it was up there all day. We’ve had a lot more time to make an impression this time.

“We’ve had a steady stream of people from around the village and many are still so shocked at how high it will be.

“This time we’ve put a marker on the rope to show where the hub will be and that’s been helpful. There seem to be a lot more residents from Stratton as well.

Mr Burchell said the group had sent out around 5,000 leaflets to houses in the two areas since the application came in.

A spokesman for Honda said: “Honda and Ecotricity have already submitted photographs, as stipulated by Swindon Borough Council, to support the planning application which are a true representation of visual impact of the wind turbines.

“However, we do appreciate that it may be difficult to visualise the impact of a turbine from the perspective of each individual resident’s house from the photographs. Honda and Ecotricity also maintain an open communication approach with the community in regards to this proposed wind turbine application.

For anyone who would like to know more about the Honda proposal visit http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/ honda-swindon or email honda @ecotricity.co.uk.

The full article is available here.