Developer Taylor Wimpey claims to have circulated 12,271 newsletters advertising a presentation of their outline plans for Ridgeway Farm on 18 February at Roughmoor Social Hall, but none of the 100 or so people who discovered that the display was taking place at short notice said they received it.
Most found out via email networks, local councillors or an alert at swindonlink.com
The developer secured permission to build 700 houses and a primary school at a planning appeal last year in the face of fierce opposition from both sides of the Wiltshire Swindon border.
Many who saw the proposals want Taylor Wimpey to modify their plans so that the impact of Ridgeway Farm on existing residents is minimised. Pictured, Wiltshire and Swindon residents and councillors fearing how Ridgeway Farm will impact upon existing communities
There are calls for Purton Road to be kept open to maintain vehicle access, with restrictions on through-traffic by the installation of a bus gate between the new housing and Swinley Drive. Without these measures traffic on Swinley Drive is predicted to rise by 80 per cent.
Kevin Fisher, chair of Shaw Residents’ Association, has heavily criticised the design of the proposed spine road through the development. He said: “Taylor Wimpey is proposing to make the spine road just 6.5 metres wide. It will be narrower than Swinley Drive and much narrower than Mead Way which is the main arterial route through West Swindon.
He said: “There will be an estimated 60 houses fronting the spine road with driveways and cars parked on it. This means traffic through the new estate will grind to a halt and drivers from the north will seek alternative routes.
“The SRA has called on the developer to re-route the spine road around the north and east of the development. Sadly, Taylor Wimpey are refusing to do this citing the additional work and delays such a change will create.”
Shaw Residents’ Association is calling for an urgent meeting to take place between residents, councillors and highway engineers from Swindon and Wiltshire councils to discuss options to reduce the impact of the extra traffic upon existing communities.
On 18 February Rob Phelps, Taylor Wimpey’s technical director, right, said he did not see the need for a bus gate and emphasised that the planning inspector had agreed with the road layout presented at the appeal. “The purpose of presenting more detailed plans is to listen to comments from the community. The road that leads south from the spine road towards Swinley Drive is traffic calmed outside the primary school, we’ll look at extending this zone to reduce through-traffic.
“The development will take about seven years and we need existing roads to stay open for as long as possible, so we’re willing to discuss options.”
However Kevin Fisher expressed sceptism that the people of Swindon or north Wiltshire are having any effect. He said: “Taylor Wimpey say they’re listening, but are they hearing?”
A single form entry primary school at Ridgeway Farm will open in Easter 2014. See the location of the school in the middle of the drawing (picured orange) below. The planning application has been submitted to Wiltshire Council. Click to view it
To view all of Taylor Wimpey’s latest proposals, link to the Shaw Residents’ Association site
Richard Pagett asks: Has Ridgeway Farm killed localism and damaged democracy?
Search for ‘Ridgeway Farm’ to see www.SwindonLink.com coverage of expansion to the west of Swindon since early 2010