Hit: discover the grand designs on Swindon
Hab Housing, the development company set up by Channel 4’s Grand Designs guru Kevin McCloud, is offering two opprtunities to talk about his ideas for 150 to 200 high quality eco-homes to be built at Pickard’s Small Field between Pinehurst and Gorse Hill.
Kevin McCloud, who established Hab in response to the poor quality of much new house building in the UK, said, “we are going to show that homes can be built to the highest quality at similar costs to other housing, doing little harm to the environment whilst encouraging strong communities.”
The Pickard’s Small Field project will be followed by a development of a similar size at Wichelstowe. Both schemes are to be built in partnership with Swindon Council.
Kevin and Hab colleagues, council representatives and the architects will be present at Gorse Hill Junior School, Avening Street on Friday 7 December, 6pm to 8pm, and Saturday 8 December, 2pm to 4pm.
Miss: two lottery disappointments
As news broke that both the Science Museum Inspired and Cricklade Country Way projects had failed to make the final cut in their bids for lottery millions, questions have been raised about the judging process.
South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove said she was astounded at the decision to drop Inspired from the shortlist. “I have questions about the appraisal process and am taking this up at a meeting with the Big Lottery. I have also raised the issue with ministers so that they are aware of my concerns and continued support for this excellent initiative.”
There was shock when the final line up for a television vote for £50 million in December was announced.
The four finalists are Black Country Urban Park, Sherwood: the Living Legend, an extension to the Eden Project and Sustrans’ Connect 2 (national cycle route network). The last two have already received £83 million lottery funding between them.
Inspired wanted to put on display the thousands of items kept in store at its huge Wroughton site and to stimulate wonder and excitement about science through public events and education programmes.
The forum for the ITV programme The People’s Millions rapidly filled with messages lamenting the decision and calling for Inspired to be reinstated. Many of the comments reflect on the four finalists having obvious ‘green’ credentials compared with a plan to inspire interest in science.
“We are devastated,” said Graham Nicholls, Marketing and Communications Officer for Inspired. “We will be exploring ways with our partners to make these world class collections available to the public in spite of this setback.”
Pictured above, Dom Jolly, a vocal critic of Swindon, has been won over by the Inspired project. He is pictured in early November launching a Punk Science tour to raise the profile of the bid in the week before it was rejected
Change in timetable for country way plan
The partners involved in developing plans for a wildlife and leisure corridor from Swindon to Cricklade are still optimistic that the project will be completed, despite failing to secure £20m from the Big Lottery.
In August last year, the project was awarded a development grant of £250,000 to prepare a bid for funds under the Lottery Living Landmarks scheme. Project Manager Ken Oliver said the grant had helped move the project forward and they were grateful to the Big Lottery for that.
Although disappointed at the decision, all the partners involved are determined to see the plans through. These include North Wilts and Swindon Councils, several environmental agencies, the Swindon & Cricklade Canal Trust and the Swindon & Cricklade Railway Society.
“It’s such a cracking scheme, it would be a waste not to go ahead,” said Ken. “We’re unlikely to find another single funding solution but I have no doubt that the Cricklade Country Way will be built, just not in the five years we had planned.”
Funds and offers of services to a value of £5m had already been secured as part of the Lottery bid. Alternative ways to raise the rest of the £27m needed are now being explored by the partnership, including the possibility of applying for European funding.
Canal trust and railway society volunteers had a vision of restoring the area’s heritage over twenty years ago and have been working on it ever since.
Work at Mouldon Hill Country Park in North Swindon continues and it is anticipated the canal running around the park will be re-watered before Christmas, with an official opening early next year. Work is also underway to upgrade the cycle tracks in the area.
Read about the project and watch a video at: www.crickladecountryway.org.uk