Science Park developers hit back at 'fictional and inaccurate' claims by opposition campaign

By Claire Dukes - 1 February 2019

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  • Proposed development image of Science Park from Wasdell Group

    Proposed development image of Science Park from Wasdell Group

The company behind plans for a controversial Science Park have hit back at claims made by a local opposition group which they believe to be misleading.

Existing site location plan

Plans for a Science Park in Swindon have sparked much debate since a planning application was submitted by pharmaceutical packing company, the Wasdell Group, in December 2018.

The proposals have been strongly opposed by the newly formed South Swindon Protection Group. On Saturday 28 January the group, and locals from the Wanborough area, formed a human chain on the Inlands Farm site in protest of the development.

The Wasdell Group are now challenging the veracity of claims and publicity material created by a group.

A spokesperson for Wasdell Properties, which has submitted a planning application for a Science Park at Inlands Farm, Wanborough, said: “Unfortunately, some of the material the South Swindon Protection Group has produced for residents is fictional and inaccurate. It bears no resemblance to the documents submitted with our planning application for the Science Park. This flow of misinformation means residents’ ability to reach an informed decision on the Science Park proposal is being compromised. This isn’t fair to residents and also compromises our own ability to properly assess and potentially address genuine concerns raised based on the real facts.

“For example, the group has created a mocked-up image with imaginary large buildings laid over a photograph of the current site, which bears no resemblance to our planning application, for use on its publicity material. The group’s mocked-up layout of the park gives the impression that most of the land will be populated by high buildings, when in fact only 14 per cent of the site will be built area. The rest will be given over to a green sustainable landscaping strategy with water features.

“The group has also produced a slide of this mock-up, adding imagined light and noise pollution at night. The reality is that the park will have downward lighting, and there will be no sound from, say, reversing vehicle alarms at night because such alerts will not be permitted then.

“Among other inaccuracies that we have heard are that the development will block the view of Wanborough’s church spire from the east side of Swindon. That is again simply not true.

“This is a development for Swindon as a whole. It will initially bring 600 new jobs at all skill levels to the Swindon economy, as well as creating new opportunities for the current 230 local suppliers to Wasdell. 

“We would encourage all Swindon Residents to look at the planning application on Swindon Borough Council’s website and see for themselves how this Science Park is to be developed.”

The Wasdell Group submitted the planning application back in December, promising that the site will create up to 600 jobs for Swindon. The opposition group has strongly opposed the development and do not believe the Wasdell Group have provided enough information to back their plans.

On the South Swindon Protection Group's website, the group states: "This development would be a 24-hour operation with associated light, air and noise pollution. 

"The site floods – as local knowledge proves.

"The proposal refers to ‘much needed facilities’.  It does not say by whom and for whose benefit.

"The proposal shows a total disregard for the Local Plan, for the setting of Wanborough and surrounding areas, which already have accepted unprecedented housing and employment growth for Swindon.  Opportunistic applications for the remaining unallocated countryside should be resisted at every step. The negative impact will be enormous.

"This site would cover a vast area of farmland. This site bridges the gap between Swindon and the Ridgeway villages and if not stopped will bring about the complete urbanisation of South Swindon."

To view the planning application for the Science Park visit https://www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20030/planning_and_regeneration and enter the reference: S/OUT/18/1943

For more information on the Science Park visit www.swindonsciencepark.co.uk

For more information on the South Swindon Protection Group visit www.sspg.org.uk

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