To the consternation of objectors, national housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has submitted formal plans for a new residential development adjacent to Lydiard Park, in the parish of Lydiard Tregoze beyond Swindon’s western boundary.
The development of 48 new houses south of Tewkesbury Way, includes affordable housing and public open space and would be located in the vale on the eastern boundary of Lydiard Park, close to existing housing at Middleleaze and The Prinnels.
The proposals also include provision for more than 31 hectares of neighbouring greenfield land owned by Taylor Wimpey which they propose to give to Lydiard Tregoze Parish Council for community use, safeguarded against future development.
The housebuilder’s planning application will be available to view at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/planninganddevelopment in due course.
Steven Neal, Senior Planning Manager for Taylor Wimpey Oxfordshire, said: “Our proposals for land to the south of Tewkesbury Way have been in development for some time, and we have sought to involve Lydiard Tregoze residents and stakeholders throughout this process to ensure that the scheme is in line with the aspirations and priorities of the local community as far as possible. Following extensive public consultation over a period of more than 18 months, we are delighted to have finalised our proposals and our planning application has now been submitted to Wiltshire Council for determination later in the year.
“We have worked very hard to prepare a very high-quality residential scheme which we are confident will be an asset to the Lydiard Tregoze community – not least because it will ensure a large area of land is protected as public open space in perpetuity, helping to prevent the coalescence of Lydiard Millicent and Swindon. We would like to thank everyone who has participated in the public consultation process and will continue to keep local people updated on progress with our application and subsequent development works, subject to planning approval.”
Taylor Wimpey’s public consultation was held at Lydiard House Conference Centre in November 2014 followed by a second exhibition at the same venue in June 2015. Throughout this period and into 2016, Taylor Wimpey’s project team also consulted with Lydiard Tregoze Parish Council, local community groups, elected councillors and other key stakeholders. Feedback from all parties has helped to influence the design of the final scheme which forms the basis of the planning application.
The site has been in the ownership of Taylor Wimpey for over 30 year and repeated attempts to develop it have been met with resistance from many quarters. The consultation events in 2014 and 2015 were marked by negative reactions, as well as protests. The announcement that a planning application has been made has sparked further objections.
Wiltshire Councillor Mollie Groom, who has led protests against Taylor Wimpey’s attempts to develop the land next to the park said: “We are faced with the prospect of hours of wasted time, on neighbourhood plans, and taking out a housing needs assessment with Wiltshire Council where we opted for sustainable development in the middle of the village.
“One hundred percent of residents were against any building between Lydiard Millicent Parish Council and Swindon, only to find ourselves in this situation. It is unfortunate that Lydiard Tregoze Parish Council has the piece of land adjacent to Lydiard Park within their parish, whilst the parish council is actually based around the hamlet of Hook some three miles distant. Whilst they wish to have the additional land on offer for a cemetery and allotments, this would be a desecration of a beautiful landscape setting beneath Lydiard Church and mansion. Lydiard Park itself is so successful that more land is needed for recreation.”
Cllr Caryl Sydney-Smith, Swindon Borough councillor for Freshbrook and The Lydiards, commented: “I am very disappointed to hear that the plans for the new housing off Tewkesbury Way have been submitted despite the public outcry and the concerns about the area flooding in heavy rain. Swindon and Wiltshire councillors will do their upmost to try to prevent the planning application going ahead.”
Swindon South MP Robert Buckland, long an opponent of the Taylor Wimpey proposal, said: “This is an unwelcome application on the doorstep of Lydiard Park that does not conform with the Wiltshire Local Plan. Local residents have made their concerns very clear. Lydiard is a Country Park, so any reduction in the rural nature of its surrounding area is unacceptable.”
James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire, added: “No-one can prevent a developer from making a planning application. But there is no presumption that they will get it. This land is outside the Core Strategy, and has been refused before. Of course we must oppose the application as we always have done.”
Further information about the proposed development is available on the Taylor Wimpey website at www.taylorwimpey.co.uk/lydiard-tregoze, which will be updated with a link to view the application once it has been formally registered by Wiltshire Council.