Tackling climate change is something we can all work towards says Council leader

By Swindon Link - 23 November 2021

  • Council leader David Renard

    Council leader David Renard

Swindon Council Leader David Renard's monthly column.

Planning for Swindon’s future growth is probably not top of people’s list when they think about what services their council is there to provide.

I know from the many conversations I have with local residents that potholes, refuse collections and, more recently, roadworks tend to cause them the most angst.

But we always have to keep an eye on the future and many Swindon Link readers will have seen the rapid expansion of our town over the last few decades. The growth in our population, coupled with housing targets set by the Government, mean we must ensure we control development so that it occurs in the right places.

In order to make this happen we need to have a robust and up to date Local Plan as this allows the council to set out how and where development should take place in the borough over the next 15 years.

Cabinet colleagues and I will meet to consider the latest version of the draft Local Plan at our meeting on 1 December and, if it is approved, it will go before all councillors before being submitted to the Secretary of State early next year.

The latest version takes into account a recent 10-week consultation where we received representations from about 700 residents, organisations and others with an interest in the draft Local Plan. It is so important local people have their say on where they feel housing and employment land should be sited and I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to give us their views.

In order that we meet the assessed housing need in Swindon and a five-year housing land supply, an additional 21,600 homes are required in the borough up to 2036.

We are fortunate that we already have large housing sites at the New Eastern Villages, Wichelstowe and Kingsdown which will deliver many of these new homes, but the draft Local Plan identified a number of smaller sites in which to put an extra 2,200 homes.

We will also consider the results of a consultation on the draft Local Transport Plan that sets out the council’s forward-looking policies and strategy for investment in transport infrastructure.

This goes hand in hand with the draft Local Plan as it is important we plan for improvements to the surrounding road network if we know a particular area has been earmarked for housing. This is why we managed to secure tens of millions of pounds to improve key junctions near the New Eastern Villages and at Wichelstowe.

On the subject of planning for the future, it was great to see Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust launch its Way Forward Programme recently.

The programme outlines how the Trust will invest £45m to improve the services it provides. You can find out more about the plans by visiting www.gwh.nhs.uk/wfp/

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