THE battle over the installation of three new turbines at Honda’s Swindon plant took a new twist last week as a parish council voiced its objections to the plan.
South Marston Parish Council unanimously agreed at a meeting last Tuesday to oppose the proposal for three 120m-high wind turbines, to be situated several hundred metres from residential housing.
It follows a decision by Stratton St Margaret Parish Council to support the plan after a brief representation from South Marston campaign group Ill Wind.
Stuart Young, the vice-chairman of the parish council, said: “Although supportive of the concept of renewable energy generation, we wanted to ensure that we understood the rationale behind this application and the arguments for and against.
“Consequently, we have attended a number of meetings with concerned villagers, including a large public event that attracted more than 125 people, as well as visiting the proposed sites at Honda.
“We have also conducted our own independent research on the Internet.”
“We will also be asking that the parish council is given the opportunity to speak at the Swindon Borough Council planning meeting.”
Neil Burchell, the chairman of Ill Wind, said: “I’m very pleased that the parish council took the time and the attention to review the application in detail and assess the impact.
“They certainly listened to the views of the residents.”
Representatives from the group, South Marston Parish Council and Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson met those from Honda and wind energy firm Ecotricity last Thursday to discuss the turbines.
Sam Tipper, the head of corporate communications at Honda, said: “Together with Ecotricity, Honda of the UK Manufacturing has spent a number of months conducting detailed environmental studies as part of the planning process for the installation of three wind turbines at the Swindon plant.
“In June, we started the most important part of the proposal: Sharing our plans with the local community.
“We welcome any feedback from local residents during this planning application period.
“We have always been open and worked with the local community and would welcome them at Honda at any time.
“It is important to us that we are always open with the residents.”
Justin Tomlinson said: “They were extremely open and transparent and it was a very productive meeting.
“There were a lot of technical questions and a lot of technical answers that came back.
“It was not a meeting where either side was expecting an agreement but it was positive and the residents used the opportunity to voice their understandable concerns.”
‘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
On Monday, Swindon Advertiser ran the following article, about South Marston Poet, Alfred Williams:
A Swindon-based society formed only six months ago is celebrating a Lottery windfall.
The Alfred Williams Heritage Society has been awarded a £35,000 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), which it will use to make more people aware of the South Marston-born writer, who died in 1930.
Chairman Dr John Cullimore, a consultant surgeon at the Great Western Hospital, founded the Society last September, along with Caroline Ockwell and Adver columnist Graham Carter.
“The three of us had never met before,” said John, “but we all find Alfred’s story an inspiration, and we decided to get together and spread the word to more local people.
“Despite a lifetime of poverty and having to write in his precious spare time, Alfred’s work was often reviewed in The Times and was known to three prime ministers.
“He wrote six books of poetry and some beautifully descriptive books about the area, including Life in a Railway Factory, which was about his experiences as a hammerman in Swindon’s GWR Works.
“He was one of us, and a true local hero, yet today he’s largely forgotten in Swindon.
“We want to show people that sometimes you don’t need to look as far afield as you might expect in order to find inspiration.”
John wrote and recorded a ‘rock opera’ CD based on Williams’s life in 2008, called The Hammerman, and this will form the basis for a musical presentation at the two-day Alfred Williams Festival on November 12-13, which will also involve other local history groups.
The grant will finance a part-time project co-ordinator for a full year, but there will be money left over to mount a permanent exhibit about Williams, which will go on display locally.
The Society will also use the grant to produce educational material and organise activities for local schoolchildren, and they plan to set up a link between schools in South Marston and northern India, where Williams served during the First World War.
They also have an ongoing project to make all of Williams’s works available online, including previously unpublished books.
Nerys Watts, the HLF’s Head of Region, said: “In addition to its literary merit, the work of Alfred Williams provides an important record of the social history of the Swindon area of the early 20th Century and of the labour movement in Great Britain.
“Through a range of original and exciting activities, this project will provide the opportunity for local people, including young people, to better understand and appreciate an inspiring figure from a key period in their past.
“We are delighted to be able to support this project and hope that it will encourage other people in the Swindon area to explore their heritage and to approach us for funding support and advice.”
The Society’s first event will be a Folksong Evening, which will take place at the King and Queen, Longcot, on Tuesday, April 20, reflecting another of Williams’s legacies – the lyrics to hundreds of English folk songs that he collected on his travels around the area.
“We have received tremendous support from people who already knew of Alfred and his achievements,” said John Cullimore, “including Mike Pringle of the Swindon Cultural Partnership, whose help has been invaluable.
“Now we can get the message across to everybody else in Swindon about the local hero they didn’t know they had.”
For more information about the Society, the Folksong Evening and the vacancy for a project co-ordinator, see www.alfredwilliams.org.uk.
Swindon Advertiser published an article about one-time South Marston Resident, Alfred Williams.
In a town quick to celebrate a working class hero, Swindon lags behind in its recognition of writer Alfred Williams, an omission about to be addressed by the recently formed Alfred Williams Heritage Society.
Alfred was born in South Marston, one of Elias and Elizabeth Williams’s eight children. A carpenter employing one boy at the time of the 1881 census, Welsh born Elias deserted the family soon afterwards. Continue reading Swindon Advertiser – Town poet in the spotlight