Tag Archives: Swindon Borough Council

Mobile Library

Swindon Borough Council are reviewing the mobile library service that supports outlying villages and communities. Did you know that the mobile library visits South Marston?

If you currently use it, we need your views on how important the service is and are there any changes you would like to see made? We will then feed these back to SBC.

Please send your comments to:

Clerk to South Marston Parish Council, 3 Ash Gardens, South Marston SN3 4XX Or by telephone on 07804 225571 or email clerksmpc@aol.com

Swindon’s Big Conversation

Swindon Borough Council Big Conversation
Swindon Borough Council are starting a new initiative to try and engage with the residents of Swindon on some of the major issues affecting their lives.

The Council needs to make it easier for people to understand the challenges we, like all councils, are facing in terms of rapidly increasing demand and decreasing resources. Just as importantly, we need to get better at listening and understanding what really matters to local people in the places they live.

By raising awareness and stimulating debate, communities will be more informed and we will also learn more about people so better decisions can be made. It’s called the Big Conversation because we are starting a dialogue, which will continue for many months, indeed years to come.

We are not starting from scratch. Elected members already have extensive local insight, understanding and networks. They have conversations with the people they serve on a daily basis and central to the Big Conversation is further supporting members to do this.

Why it is happening

The impact of an ageing population, increasing demand and reduced funding means things will have to be done differently. Improving awareness of what the council does, how much it costs and the bigger picture will help people to understand why this is happening.

There will be tough choices as well as new opportunities to work differently, and a conversation with people will make it easier for them to get involved in those choices and influence decisions.  People may also be inspired to do things differently, helping both themselves and hopefully others too.

Ultimately the ambition is for conversations to lead to positive opportunities, choices and action in our communities. Better communication will help us to develop stronger relationships with people, so we can work together and support each other more effectively today and in future.

How it will take place

The Big Conversation will take many forms, so we reach as many people as possible. For example, information will be available online, at meetings and in printed material. An infographic has been created to illustrate our challenges and also explain things like where our money comes from and where people’s Council Tax is spent. It is hoped this will spark lots of conversations, large and small, with families, friends, neighbours and colleagues. We really want to know what people think and how they feel, so getting feedback is crucial. This will be achieved by inviting participation and comments in various ways, ranging from conversations in person to online forums. You can find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/swindonbigconversation. Please ‘like’ it and share with your friends, and also talk about it on Twitter using the hashtag #Bigconversation.

Who can get involved

The ambition is to reach and connect with as many local people as possible over the next five years and we all have a role to play. As we have already said, supporting our elected members to build on their existing relationships and conversations will be a key element. Everyone needs to get involved to share information, build understanding and listen to people. Ultimately we want the Big Conversation to reach and resonate with everyone and the more people get on board, the bigger and better the conversation will be.

When it will start

It has already begun and is gaining momentum. At the One Swindon partnership conference, held on July 20, we introduced the Big Conversation to more than 250 people and trialled some exercises to bring the information to life. Feedback from this event has been used to help make sure the information is compelling and easy to understand. In November we published an online presentation, which is generating lots of discussion. For more information or if you’re interested in becoming a Big Conversation ambassador, which is a voluntary role about helping to spread the word, please email bigconversation@swindon.gov.uk.

Reporting Litter Problems

litter
(Photo credit: pj_vanf)

If you would like litter cleared in the village, Swindon Borough Council has an online service to report the problem.
You can report a problem in a number of ways:

  • Ring 01793 445501
  • Visit http://www.swindon.gov.uk/ts/ts-streetcareandcleaning and follow the instructions on the ‘How to Report a Problem’ heading on the ‘Street Cleaning’ page.
  • In person, by visiting the Swindon Direct One-stop shop at Wat Tyler House, Swindon.

Village Expansion: The Pace Quickens

Swindon Borough Council LogoSwindon Borough Council (SBC) has published their draft ‘Local Plan’ for public Consultation. It can be found at: http://www.swindon.gov.uk/localplan. This is the updated version of what was previously called the Core Strategy. This strategy was consulted on a couple of years ago. The Local Plan will govern how Swindon will expand in the period to 2026 and includes the specific provisions for expansion in South Marston and the new village of 1500-2000 houses at Rowborough as well as another 5500 houses to the South of the A420. It also makes general policy points, for instance on renewable energy, where the Parish Council share the concerns of Ill Wind that large wind turbines may be making a return in specific areas highlighted in the Local Plan.

The Parish Council will be making submissions on behalf of the village, but we encourage all villagers to read this document and put in their responses to the Borough Council direct before the 21st February deadline.

The Parish Council Expansion Sub Committee continues to work on the South Marston village Planning Document (known as the SPD or supplementary planning document). This is supplemental to the Local plan and so is bound by the more general statements in it. The developers are now expected to concentrate on the area North of the A420, although they tell us that there is considerable technical work still to be done. Our current plan, in line with Swindon BC, is to finalise the SPD so that it can go to Public Consultation in the Spring and then go on to be adopted as part of the Local Plan. It would then have to be respected by any future application for development.

 

If you would like to become involved with this planning process and would like to find out how to do so, then please contact the Parish Clerk on 01793 820529.

Ill Wind – Gone with the Wind

English: The three primary types of wind turbi...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last year saw 5 parish councils and well over 800 Swindon residents react to a Planning Department document that pointed to areas, including Highworth, Hannington, South Marston, Tadpole Farm and the eastern villages of Wanborough and Liddington as areas appropriate for wind turbines. In response, the residents and local parish councils asked that the Local Plan should define a minimum separation distance between any proposed wind turbines and residential housing.

There is nothing radical here, it’s been adopted by other Councils and figures in a bill before Parliament for a national planning restriction.

Hopes were raised when Councillor Dale Heenan, speaking of the Local Plan, said ‘the specific wording is still being discussed but I wouldn’t be surprised if it includes separation distances of 1km’. In the event, and despite Dale Heenan’s best intentions, the Planning Department’s views prevailed and the proposed Development Plan does not include a minimum separation distance.

Ill Wind, a group of local residents, successfully opposed a planning application for wind turbines overlooking Stratton and South Marston. They were concerned about the growing evidence about impacts on health, disturbance from noise and shadow flicker and the damaging effects on neighbourhoods that would be overlooked by giant moving structures of a size that would dwarf any building currently in Swindon.

Ill Wind are urging Swindon residents who don’t want to live to close to wind turbines to voice their objections to the anti-democratic way the Local Plan is bypassing the consultation process and being railroaded through to a February 21st deadline. If you are interested, and want to help, visit their website, illwind.co.uk, for more details.

Ill Wind – Do you live in a wind turbine area of search?

The image below is an illustration of a map which appeared in Swindon Borough Council's "Draft Core Strategy". It shows, in red, "areas of search" appropriate for large scale wind turbine development within the Borough. This document has been revised and is now called the "Draft Local Plan".  The map has been removed, but the commitment to large scale wind turbine development remains.
The image below is an illustration of a map which appeared in Swindon Borough Council’s “Draft Core Strategy”. It shows, in red, “areas of search” appropriate for large scale wind turbine development within the Borough. This document has been revised and is now called the “Draft Local Plan”. The map has been removed, but the commitment to large scale wind turbine development remains.

Local residents successfully opposed a Planning Application to build 3, 120m high wind turbines in Swindon that would have been less than 300 metres from the nearest house, with 5000 homes and families within 2km of the turbines.

They did this because of the effects on the health and wellbeing of residents and the visual impact on the landscape. Effects that, in some cases, have been so extreme as to drive people living near wind turbines to sell their homes at reduced value and move away.

Ill Wind wants to avoid residents having to fight that same battle again and again as developers apply to build turbines in different sites across the borough knowing that once one site is approved the floodgates will open.

Although the Draft Plan says “Large scale wind-turbines (individual or collectively) are unlikely to be supported in close proximity to residential properties”, without a definition of “close proximity” we are at the mercy of the whims of SBC’s Planning Department. The same Planning Department that previously ignored all evidence presented by local residents and independent experts and recommended that three, 120m high turbines be built just 278m away from Swindon homes.

Ill Wind, many Parish Councils and well over 800 individuals asked for the new Core Strategy to include a minimum, typically 2km, separation distance clause – but it hasn’t appeared in the revised version.

Other Councils have done it – so why not Swindon?

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

There is a 9 week public consultation from Thursday 20th December 2012 until 6pm on Thursday 21st February 2013.

Parish Council News – Oct 2012

Allotments

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.