Primegate Properties (Hooknorth) Ltd. has applied to Swindon Council to build 210 houses with associated open space and landscaping on a green field between Grange Park and Lydiard Country Park.
However the proposal – if successful – could be the precursor of a much, much bigger proposal that would engulf the western edge of Swindon and urbanise Lydiard Park. See the plan and objections by the prospective Parliamentary candidates for South Swindon at the bottom of the page.
About 100 people living close to the site attended a hastily convened meeting on 25 March in Freshbrook Church to discuss how to object to the proposal (Planning application S/10/0343 which can be seen at the Swindon Borough Council planning department at the Civic Offices, Euclid Street or via at www.swindon.gov.uk/environment)
A full complement of politicians at parliamentary and local authority level gave their solid support to the residents, a few of whom mounted a campaign against Wiltshire County Council in the early 1980s when the field was proposed for a primary school for Grange Park.
In early March Les Durrant of DPDS planning consultants, representing Primegate Properties, said the application would provide much needed housing for Swindon including both affordable and executive properties. “The scheme is carefully and sensitively designed to take account of the character of the local area including the adjacent Lydiard Park.”
However at the West Swindon Forum on 1 March councillor Nick Martin said he and the six other councillors representing wards in West Swindon were not impressed by the proposal. “Hook Street is too narrow to cope with more traffic which would feed into Whitehill Way which is already too busy.
“We are also very concerned that more housing would stimulate demand for development on the south of Hook Street, opposite Lydiard Park, which is in Wiltshire.”
At the meeting on 25 March, South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove told residents that she supported their objections. "It’s pleasing that representatives from all parties are working together to send a clear message to the developers that building on this field is inappropriate. The key point is that it falls outside the existing defined settlement boundary for Swindon in the plan up to 2011 and residents need to state clear objections now."
Robert Buckland, Conservative candidate for the South Swindon parliamentary seat said he did not regard resident’s views as a ‘not-in-my-backyard situation.’ "The special character of Lydiard Park is a major factor in the argument against this proposal. People have to lodge the objections now so that the planning committee at Swindon Borough Council has a clear picture of why this application should not be permitted. I think there are strong arguments against it, but residents have to state them in no uncertain terms."
Resident’s were agreed that Hook Street is completely inadequate as an access road to the site and expressed fears that emergency vehicles would have difficulties getting to the houses.
They were also concerned that the planning application downplays the importance of the site to wildlife. People said there is an active badger set in one of the hedgerows bordering the field and bats forage across it at night.
They pointed out that the application states that flooding is not a risk when several households had been flooded after heavy rainstorms in the last few years as a result of water draining from the field.
Resident Troy Wilson who called the meeting said residents could include the following points in letters of objection by the closing date of 8 April:
• building on green field outside Swindon’s defined settlement boundary;
• the inadequacy of Hook Street as a residential access road – another 210 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.
He said, "I was inspired by the turnout to the meeting after a few days organisation. If a large number of people care about their local environment and voice their objections, and with the backing of the local politicians, I’m confident we can block this. Let’s get it stopped."
He recommends using the old fashioned method of posting a letter of objection to ensure it is delivered and recorded at the council. Write to:
Mr D Potter, Director of Planning Services
Swindon Borough Council
Civic Offices, Euclid Street
Swindon SN1 1TZ
30 April – South Swindon candidates slam proposals by Primegate Properties to build 2,000 homes south of Hook Street in West Swindon.
Grange Park resident Geraldine Barnard has discovered a document by Primegate Properties (Hook South) objecting to Wiltshire Council’s proposal to build 2,000 homes north of West Swindon at Pry Farm. They have submitted their alternative scheme which they claim could be delivered more easily. Hook South was one of the options for development when Wiltshire was considering where to put extra homes to the west of Swindon.
See Primegate’s document by clicking here. Scroll down to (ID: 404474) , Primegate Properties (Hooksouth) Ltd and click on the pdf.
South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove said, “I am working hard to stop a development north of Hook Street and to learn that this may be a precursor to 2,000 homes south of Hook Street is outrageous. This location is completely unsuitable for development for reasons such as flooding, transport, education provision and the impact on the local area. This is further evidence that Wiltshire County Council’s plan to dump homes on Swindon rather than build them in towns that are in desperate need of affordable housing elsewhere in Wiltshire is utterly inappropriate.”
Conservative Parliamentary candidate Robert Buckland said, "West Swindon is in danger of being overwhelmed by another unsustainable housing development proposal. I am utterly opposed to the building of 2,000 homes south of Hook Street – as I am to having this number built at Pry Farm. The Regional Planning policy and its housing targets have to be repealed at the earliest opportunity so that crazy proposals such as this can be prevented."
Anne Snelgrove has written to Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Country Council to discover what they knew of these plans and if they support the proposal.