Building at Ridgeway Farm, which is listed as the fourth largest unplanned development in the UK by Planning Resources, since the Coalition Government’s NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) was introduced, might go onto 2023 – some four or five years later than was stated at a planning enquiry in 2013.
Taylor Wimpey received planning permission for the development on the edge of West Swindon after a lengthy appeal process. In front of a planning inspector Taylor Wimpey representatives argued that the 700 houses were required to meet the number Swindon needed to build within its five year housing supply.
In an update to the Wiltshire Council Core Strategy, the developer states it will build 86 houses annually and will complete the development with 34 houses in 2023.
Kevin Fisher, chairman of Shaw Residents’ Association, below, said he was surprised to read the information supplied by the developer for the Wiltshire Council planning document. He said: “Taylor Wimpey’s whole argument at the planning inquiry was that there would be a shortfall of housing in the Swindon area over a five-year period.
"In the ‘proof of evidence’ provided on behalf of Taylor Wimpey to the Planning Inquiry, it was stated on page 61 that Ridgeway Farm could deliver 450 houses by 2016 – the reality is it will be 2021 before it delivers that many.
"The ‘statement of common ground’ agreed between the developer and Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council showed 570 completions by March 2016.
"Even allowing for a one year delay in final planning approval, this is new information shows the site will be completed 4 to 5 years later than was stated. They won the appeal with the 5 year housing supply argument, but now it seems it doesn’t count."
Taylor Wimpey have agreed with Wiltshire and Swindon councils to pay:
£395,580 for road improvements, principally on Mead Way and Swinley Drive;
£75,950 towards the upgrade of Westlea fire station;
£700,000 towards secondary education provision at Bradon Forest School, Purton;
£365,000 for the building of Ridgeway Farm primary school, to open in mid-2016;
£365,000 towards improvements at Cricklade Leisure Centre and Link Centre in West Swindon;
£170,200 for changing rooms to serve the sports pitches at Mouldon Hill Park in North Swindon.
When the funding for these projects will be made has yet to be established. Kevin said he was worried that the slower than expected development of Ridgeway Farm would result in even greater traffic congestion on Mead Way and Swinley Drive than Shaw Residents’ Association has already predicted.
Work on building the first houses commenced in January 2014. A spokesperson for Taylor Wimpey said at the time: “We’re absolutely delighted to have received approval for the first phase of 220 homes together with a new primary school and infrastructure at Ridgeway Farm.
“We are now looking forward to releasing the first new homes for sale shortly, with work on the primary school due to commence in late 2015.”
The development is being undertaken by two different regions of the company. Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire are marketing the area as Greenfields, whilst Taylor Wimpey Bristol are calling it West Point.
Register your interest in a home at Ridgeway Farm or call 01793 688729.
Below, Ridgeway Farm next to the Swindon to Kemble railway line