A new 200 home housing development on an increasingly busy road in West Swindon may have been the cause of a serious accident on 30 April.
Preparation to open the site being developed by Wain Homes at Moredon Bridge on Purton Road – between Thamesdown Drive in North Swindon and Mead Way in West Swindon – has been going on for the last 10 days.
Two large sign and several poles with flapping flags have been erected on the road in front of a sales cabin.
It appears that a vehicle coming down the hill from Mead Way had become distracted by the flags and the new sign and drifted across the road and smashed head-on into a car coming from Thamesdown Drive.
One driver was apparently taken to Great Western Hospital with potentially serious injuries. The road was closed for over an hour whilst emergency services rescued the injured drivers and cleared the road of the two damaged vehicles.
A police spokeswoman said, “we can confirm that at approximately 1.30pm on Friday 30th April 2010, Wiltshire Police were called to a road traffic collision at Sparcells roundabout, Swindon, involving a blue Renault Scenic and a blue Ford Focus. As a result of the collision, the driver of the Focus, a 57 year old woman, was taken to Great Western Hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.”
The site was controversially given planning permission at an appeal in May 2009 after North Wilts District Council objected to the Wain Homes application. See the story below.
Jacqui Lay, Wiltshire Councillor for Purton & Braydon, who was caught up in the traffic jam, said, "ever since the site was given the go-ahead, many people have wondered if the extra traffic on this stretch of road could result in accidents. I believe Purton Parish Council is very concerned about this issue and the road junction layout and I will discuss this accident with highways department officers at Wiltshire Council."
Swindonlink has been highlighting the threat of over-development to the west of Swindon for several years. Click to read our coverage.
Below, our article in June 2009 reporting the outcome of the Moredon Bridge appeal
More homes at Moredon Bridge open floodgates for major development in West
A government planning inspector believes that a housing development at Moredon Bridge would spoil views and look out of place; but still gave it the go ahead.
Permission to build around 200 dwellings on the land adjoining Sparcells, was denied by North Wilts Council in May 2008 but Wainhomes (North West Ltd) have won an appeal. Planning Inspector, Peter Davies, made his decision based on three main issues: whether the development was premature, whether it would adversely affect the surrounding countryside and whether the design approach was acceptable.
He concluded that the housing was needed now and could be served by existing roads and found the design acceptable. However, his comments on the impact on the area were mixed. "New housing in this area of countryside would be visible from Purton Road and various points along the former railway line and from the edge of Pembroke Park," he wrote. "A visually intrusive and discordant development would arise."
However, permission was granted on the basis that the houses will shortly be part of a much bigger development. The Emerging Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West specifies that 3,000 homes are to be built at Moredon Bridge, Ridgeway Farm and Pry Farm on either side of the B4553 towards Cricklade.
"This suggests that, as many of us thought and feared, the development at Moredon Bridge is the key to ensuring the bigger planned development happens with minimal opposition," said Pete Wilson who opposed the development. ("Whether we like it or not the bottom line is that these 200 dwellings will lead to a further 3000 homes being built in the surrounding vicinity and our wildlife will need to find new homes.")
West Swindon Councillor, Keith Williams, said that granting the application was short sighted and irresponsible. "The imposition of these houses by the Government Planning Inspector against the wishes of not just Swindon and Wiltshire Councils but all of the residents I have spoken to, demonstrates how little consideration they have for the infrastructure problems we are facing as a town."