Spurred on by a deep sense of outrage at the proposal from Taylor Wimpey to build a new housing estate within the designated ‘essential setting’ of Lydiard Park, a number of community organisations have come together in a united show of opposition.
They include the Shaw Residents’ Association, the Friends of Lydiard Park and the Lydiard Park Heritage Trust, together with residents of Swindon and Lydiard Millicent in Wiltshire.
Known as the Lydiard Heritage Action Group, the new organisation is calling on everyone who cares about Lydiard Park to lodge an objection with Wiltshire Council. Kevin Fisher, chair of the new group said: “The field in question is actually within Wiltshire Council’s jurisdiction and so objections must be sent to Chippenham and not Swindon”.
Sarah Finch-Crisp, who led the £5 million Heritage Lottery Fund Lydiard Park Restoration Project said: “Taylor Wimpey are proposing to build their housing estate within the ‘essential setting’ of Lydiard Park, in full view of St. Mary’s Church and the main drive to Lydiard House.
“Such development will inevitably destroy the tranquillity of this historic rural environment and bring the town to Lydiard’s doorstep. The park is a very special place; enjoyed by some 850,000 people each year.
“It is our heritage, a Country Park and not an Urban Park – we must all fight hard to keep it that way.”
Mike Sharp, a Lydiard Millicent resident, described the proposal as part of a pincer movement when taken into context with a separate application within Lydiard Millicent itself. He said: “This is a Trojan horse application. If approved, many more fields around Lydiard Park and all the open space between Swindon, Lydiard Millicent, Hook and other outlying villages will fall to developers”.
Both Swindon and Wiltshire Councils have their own development plans which equate to tens of thousands of new homes to be constructed by the middle of the next decade. Kevin Fisher, chair of Shaw Residents’ Association commented: “The plans for both authorities have been agreed and paid for by the people. They do not include building within the ‘essential setting’ of Lydiard Park and they explicitly state that there should be no further houses built to the west of Swindon.
“Given the number of new sites that have building consent across Swindon and Wiltshire, and the fact that many of those sites have been ‘Land Banked’, why are Taylor Wimpey so keen on this sensitive Heritage location?
“The answer is simple; they know that if they can win here, the flood gates are open and they can build anywhere they please.”
Guidance from Lydiard Park Action Group on how to comment on the Taylor Wimpey planning application to Wiltshire
Three ways to register your objection by 15 September, although comments will be accepted up until 31 October
1. Online (recommended):
• click on this web link and enter your objection:
• Enter 16/06978/FUL into the application number box and click ‘search’
• Click the application reference link coloured blue to view the documents
• Click: ‘comment on this application’
2. Email to:
• Ensure your email includes the reference ‘16/06978/FUL’
• Include your name and address
3. By post to:
• Mathew Pearson, Wiltshire Council, Monkton Park, Chippenham, SN15 1ER
• Ensure you’re letter includes the reference ‘16/06978/FUL’ and your name and address
Other ways to help
• Sign the online petition: www.bit.ly/LPpetition
• Email / phone / talk to everyone you know asking them to send in an objection
• Post and share via Facebook and Twitter
Photos, top, horses gambolling in the field between the housing development site and Lydiard Park. Below, the field marked in yellow which is proposed for development