The soundness of Swindon Borough Council’s Local Plan 2026 has come under scrutiny by the Secretary of State’s Planning Inspector, Mr Mike Fox, who called an Exploratory Meeting at STEAM on Wednesday 13 November to address a number of potentially serious concerns with the document.
The meeting was attended by SBC executive officers Richard Bell, Head of Planning, Philip Smith, Local Plan Programme Manager, Paddy Bradley, Head of Procurement and Claire Cornelius, Head of Transport.
There was also extensive representation in the audience from neighbouring planning authorities in Wiltshire and Oxford, as well as from residents and community groups who had prepared responses to the document during the period of public consultation at the beginning of the year.
The Planning Inspector outlined six points of immediate concern, and requested that the Council provide further information and clarification on the following topics:
The robustness of population projections and housing requirements
The adequacy of housing provision proposed in the Local Plan
The clear identification of locations for gypsy and travellers’ sites
The justification of projected economic growth
The deliverability of Rapid Transit
Of particular concern to the Planning Inspector were how such things as infrastructure and Rapid Transit implementations are going to be achieved, and how they would be funded.
Swindon Borough Council have until Wednesday 20 November to formally respond to the Planning Inspector with their indication of how and by when they will provide the information required for further examination.
It is anticipated that Examination hearings will proceed in early March, at which evidence for and against the Local Plan will be heard, and members of the public will have the opportunity to discuss their objections.
Visit www.swindon.gov.uk/swindonplan to stay informed of progress.