A pub at Redhouse Village Centre has been promised by developers Crest Nicholson since the master plan for Priory Vale was drawn up in 2001. They say they’re committed to providing one, though doubts abound.
“The lack of a pub is a huge frustration to people living in Redhouse and Oakhurst who are aware that a pub should be built at the centre, but see no sign of progress,” said North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson who is a member of both the Parliamentary Save the Pubs group and the British Beer Group.
“It’s an open secret that Arkell are keen to be the operators but I think Crest have been asking an unreasonable price for the site. The provision of a pub is clear in the Priory Vale Master Plan and if Crest believe they can achieve a change of site use because they say there hasn’t been interest - they had better reconsider. Residents won’t accept this idea, nor will I, nor will the borough council. We’ll fight the idea tooth and nail.”
In response to residents’ criticism of the lack of delivery at Redhouse centre, at one of the public consultation meetings in April on the proposals for housing at Tadpole Farm, former Crest development director John Iliffe, who died at the end of the May, said he was “ashamed” about the state of the centre and the lack of progress.
Crest representative Sarah Foster told The Link, “there are two pub/restaurant sites identified for the Redhouse Village Centre, one opposite Tesco and the other is off the Market Square.
“The provision of a pub/restaurant is not a requirement of the S106 legal agreement between the developer and the borough council. This is determined by the market.
“The site opposite Tesco was the subject of a planning permission granted to Marstons’ in 2008. Having obtained planning permission they decided not to purchase the land due to change in market conditions. Since then the only interest has been from Arkell’s but they have now withdrawn, again due to market conditions.
"Crest continue to explore interest by pub operators but to date there has been no commitment. Interest has been shown by a restaurant/takeaway in the north of the site but this has not materialised into a commercial agreement.
“It is Crest’s intention to retain land for the pub/restaurant in the local centre. The company are currently reviewing the land uses with Swindon Borough Council in response to changes in market demand since the original plan was conceived.”
A spokeswoman for Arkell’s confirmed that the company is not currently in discussion with Crest.
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Above, an artist's impression of what the centre should look like. Below, as it is now, with Isambard Community School in the background