Despite many issues raised by Shaw Residents’ Association which have not been answered, Wiltshire Council has agreed Taylor Wimpey’s detailed planning application for the first 218 of 700 houses agreed on appeal for Ridgeway Farm, just over Swindon’s border with Wiltshire, to the north of Peatmoor.
On 10 December having received a letter from Network Rail withdrawing its objection to the development, Wiltshire Council granted permission for the first houses and permission for the road infrastructure.
In an officers report the SRA position has been documented on page 6 and concludes with the words: “the Shaw RA is firmly of the view that the form, scale and layout of the proposals and related highway and vehicular infrastructure will have a harmful impact on the local transport network and traffic movement in the locality to the detriment of the local community“.
On the same page, similar comments can be found from South Swindon MP Robert Buckland.
Planning permission has been granted even though the spine road width remains narrower than was presented to the Planning Inquiry that agreed outline planning permssion, whilst parking bays are woefully short of Wiltshire’s own guidelines.
SRA chairman Kevin Fisher, below, said: "It is perhaps a sad indictment of the democracy in which we live where objections from large companies like Thames Water and Network Rail are acted on whilst those of ordinary people and elected representatives are largely ignored.
"It would seem a perfect storm is brewing for residents of west and north swindon. The SRA believes the design of the spine road through the ridgeway farm development, along with inadequate parking facilities, will create a gridlock situation on the north Sparcells roundabout.
"The failure of the Chancellor to allocate funds to build an extension of Thamesdown Drive extension in his Autumn Statement to relieve traffic congestion on Mead Way and the possibility of 50 more homes at Moredon Bridge will exacerbate this.
"Now an un-elected planning Inspector has told Wiltshire Council that its planning core strategy is 7,000 houses short of what he thinks is required. It is quite likely that we’ll see developers putting the development of hundreds, perhaps thousand of houses at the Pry Farm site back on the table. This site, just north of Ridgeway Farm would close the gap between Swindon and Purton being developed. The negative impact on the quality of life for all residents on the west side of Swindon and around Purton will be massive."
Dr Richard Pagett, a resident of Purton, who blogs on planning issues at www.carbonbrake.com said: "What we are seeing is a slow war of attrition between the developer and those who stand in their way.
"A utility and some statutory bodies – Thames Water, Scottish and Southern Electricity, Network Rail and the Environment Agency – had all issued objections to Ridgeway Farm have now been rescinded. In some cases, the objections just seem to have been withdrawn without further significant amendments from the developers.
"It is not clear why this is so and one has to hope that any future planning applications for Ridgeway Farm are subjected to a little more rigour.”
Pictured above, the Network Rail railway embankment at the northern edge of Ridgeway Farm.
Pictured below on the old Purton Road bridge, overlooking the Ridgeway Farm site in November 2012, following the planning inspectors decision to permit the development, from left, residents Martyn Parrott and Paula Russell, Kevin Fisher, chair, Shaw Residents’ Association, Richard Pagett of Purton Ps & Qs, Swindon councillors Garry Perkins and Nick Martin, Wiltshire councillor Jaqui Lay, Peatmoor resident Roger Ogle. Photo above and below: Richard Wintle www.calyxpix.com