Comments and objections to an application by Swindon planning consultancy DPDS on behalf of Primegate Properties (Hooknorth) Ltd. to build 175 houses with associated open space and landscaping on a green field between Grange Park and Lydiard Country Park have to be submitted by 31 August.
This is a reduction from 210 houses from an earlier planning application in March. The outline site layout pictured below. Search for application reference S/10/1153 at Swindon Borough Council’s planning website
Les Durrant of DPDS said that Primegate Properties is now working with Bovis House who would build the properties. "We have listened to the comments made by the public and incorporated suggestions, particularly the density of the site. The new government has removed the former governments requirement to plan for a density of 35 dwellings per acre which never appropriate for this site. The revised application is more in keeping with the lower density of developments of the 1980s."
However Grange Park resident Troy Wilson, said people should still be concerned about:
• building on green field outside Swindon’s defined settlement boundary;
• the inadequacy of Hook Street as a residential access road – another 175 homes would result in at least another 500 cars using the road;
• the change of character of Hook Street and Lydiard Park as a result of more housing;
• the dangers of creating another traffic access from Hook Street;
• the extra traffic that would be created where Hook Street meets Whitehill Way which is already heavily congested;
• disruption to wildlife using the site;
• the potential for flooding to existing homes in adjacent areas as a result of development;
• the pressure on education and health provision for the extra housing.
"Whether its 210 or 175 houses, I think its inappropriate development for an area which already has too many houses and a site with inadequate access. We will look at the new plans and respond to any new points made."
Father of two Paul Haworth said he is very concerned about the knock-on effects of the development on people living beyond Grange Park. "This will have a domino effect on surrounding areas which could result in increases in already oversized classes or it means children are pushed further away from their homes to go to school."
Les Durrant of DPDS said the design for the site fits in better to existing houses and more sympathetic to Lydiard Park. "A higher proportion of larger houses are being proposed, but 30 per cent of the site will be for affordable homes. It should be noted that 40 per cent of the overall site is being retained as open space including a play area and a significant landscape buffer to the park."
He added that the new planning application included a heritage statement assessing the impact of the new houses on Lydiard Park, and said that the houses are essential to the new housing needs of Swindon people. "Although the government has abolished the Regional Spatial Strategy, it has retained the requirement on local councils to have a five year housing land supply available. We have always maintained that this site was designated for housing in the original master plan for West Swindon and we are proposing a sympathetic development for it."
The scheme will be subject to a Section 106 Legal Agreement covering contributions to infrastructure provision including highways and education.
But Freshbrook & Grange Park councillor Michael Dickinson said his objections to the original plans fundamentally remain the same despite the reduction in the number of houses. "This field, which is on the edge of Lydiard Park, is not a suitable location for housing. Imagine more cars trying to access the houses along Hook Street which is too narrow for the traffic it takes already. This plan was not suitable originally and this it looks unsuitable now."
Fellow councillor Michael Bray has summed up the issues in the letter printed below:
Objections in general, Infrastructure, Flooding, Schooling, Medical Service, Dental Service, Carbon footprint, Noise Pollution from Lydiard Park, Wild Life, Green Belt
Infrastructure: Hook Street is virtually a single track road entered via a roundabout at Whitehill Way which flows north into a full single track road interpersed with cattle grids until it meets the Wootton Bassett Road at a dangerous T junction some 2 miles from the proposed site. In flowing north it passes the main entrance to Lydiard Park some 400 yards from the entrance to the proposed development.
The road today is nothing better than a rat run for those wishing to avoid Junction 16. As I am aware utility services are limited from the last row of houses in Grange Park so it will not be a case of digging a hole and up popping drains, sewers, water, gas and communication channels. Where will they find them, where will they go?
Flooding: on the new development will continue to cause problems for the existlng houses in Grange Park bordering the prospective development which have been subject to flooding over the last 2 or 3 years. Why? The field is a hill and the water drains off the hill into ditches which are overgrown and which incidentally on the initial plan appear to be well behind the intended gardens therefore continuing to give problems to long standing residents.
Schooling: There are 2 schools within comfortable walking distance of the
planned development; Greendown Comprehensive and Millbrook Primary. Both would have to look to their accommodation state when considering the possibility of additional pupils. Both would have problems in providing a safe walking route to school – in particular Millbrook.
Medical and Dental Services: One medical practice now overflowing is served by 1.5 GPs with no possibility of extending their building to accommodate extra staff. The Dental Practice is non NHS.
Carbon Footprint: 175 new houses could easily produce 500 cars with a high percentage of old ones among them. No reduction in the Carbon Footprint here.
Noise Pollution: We have many events in Lydiard Park including one big
event which could be repeated. Residents of the new development will have no control over what goes on and events will surely carry on in the Park.
Wild life: The field is at present a haven for a large variety of birds and wild animals – deer, badgers, bats, foxes etc – a retreat from Lydiard Park especially during the day.
Green Belt: It was once considered as the future home for Lydiard Tregoze School but for all the foregoing reasons the school was found another site. It’s a field which must remain green.
Councillor Michael Bray Freshbrook and Grange Park Ward
Pictured bottom, when there were no houses in Grange Park, circa. 1983. The Windmill pub at Freshbrook Village Centre, then called The Cornflower can be seen in the centre