With the first children arriving at Ridgeway Farm Church of England Primary School in early September, contractors for site developers Taylor Wimpey are rushing to join Swinley Drive, Peatmoor to a new section of road into the housing development.
However residents and a Wiltshire councillor have expressed concern for the safety of pedestrians walking between the new housing area to the north of Purton Road and the long established housing to the south.
Contractors John O’Flynn have changed the road layout by replacing the Purton Road/Swinley Drive roundabout, with a T-junction at the north end of Swinley Drive. Traffic will then cross Purton Road to the new road running south from the primary school.
Clive and Amanda Heard who live in one of four houses that face onto Purton Road, west of the new junction, were awoken on Saturday morning to the contractors digging up the curbstones. They were told the road was being realigned by less than half a metre to match with the new layout, before a new surface is laid.
Clive said: “There has never been a pavement outside the four houses and we wondered if this was going to be built at last. We contacted Wiltshire Council when we first moved here 18 years ago, when we had to push buggies in the road or on the grass verge. Then we were told there wasn’t enough demand or it wasn’t dangerous enough to warrent a footpath being laid, even though the footpath stops a few metres away by the old roundabout (where the 30 mph sign is in the photograph above).
“We’re really concerned about pedestrian safety now that the population rises as people move into the new Ridgeway Farm houses. Originally Purton Road was to be a green lane, but it was decided to close the east section towards Sparcells roundabout but keep the west side open from Swinley Drive to Casa Paulo to traffic.
“Almost opposite our drive a major footpath will emerge from the new housing but it is not clear where pedestrians will go. Unless there is a footpath opposite, where there is space, they will have to walk along the road to find a way into the existing houses to the south.”
Wiltshire councillor Mollie Groom said she was also very concerned about pedestrian access. “There will be parents wanting to walk to the new school and residents who want to go the shop or pub at Peatmoor. This has to be looked at.”
A project manager from John O’Flynn and a highway’s engineer from Wiltshire Council inspected the site on 22 August to look at the footpath issue. However it’s a problem Wiltshire will have to solve as Taylor Wimpey say won’t be responsible for more than was agreed when they won permission to build the 700 homes at Ridgeway Farm at a planning appeal.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said: “As part of our Ridgeway Farm development, we are implementing a junction design as approved by the Swindon and Wiltshire Highway Authority. This does not include a pavement outside of these residents properties.
“We have a legal obligation to implement the approved design.”