Saturday, June 01, 2013

Trust members vote to dissolve the Jefferies Land Conservation Trust

At a special meeting held on 1st June 2013, members of the Jefferies Land Conservation Trust unanimously voted in favour of dissolving the organisation.

The Trust will represent its aim to safeguard the special landscape of the fields east and south of Coate Water from development at a planning inquiry for the emerging Swindon Local Plan that will be held later this year.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Swindon planners propose to adopt developers' design code

The papers relating to Swindon Council’s Planning Committee for Tuesday, 9th April, 2013 6.00 p.m. are up on the Council’s website.
Agenda Item 6 relates to the design code for the Coate development that the planning Officer recommends for approval as presented by the developers.
The Planning officer has not addressed many of the points raised and has misrepresented what was said by the Jefferies Land Conservation Trust and, we suspect, by others. When outline planning permission was granted, we were told that detail would be sorted out at a later stage. Evidently, now we are at the later stage, we are informed that certain details were approved with planning permission (such as the height of buildings). One of our main concerns was that the tallest buildings were proposed to be placed on the highest contours of the land. Evidently, this matter cannot be changed. However Swindon Council has agreed that there should be more variation in the building materials used.
The officer’s report says:
An additional public meeting is to be held on 4th April at the request of
the Commonhead Parish Liaison Group. Any outcomes from this meeting will
be reported verbally at Planning Committee. As a result of the consultation, 25
comments were received from consultees, organisations and members of the
public. A summary of the comments made and a brief officer response can be
found at Appendix 1
10. Comments made as a result of the consultation exercise have been
reported back to the developer and a revised code document has been
received having been amended to incorporate relevant and justified
and her conclusion:
21. The submitted Design Code fulfils the requirements of the condition
and indicates a style of design that would be appropriate for an extension to
Swindon’s urban area in this location. This Design Code will secure high
quality designed housing and other facilities and it is hoped that this will result
in a development that people will want to live in.
 So some changes to the design are supposed to have been made but we don’t know what. Having seen the plans for the building approved at the Sun Inn by Swindon Council a few days ago (which are absolutely ghastly and totally out of keeping with the Richard Jefferies Museum (a Grade II listed building), we can’t say that we are surprised now at anything that Swindon Council approves.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Developer's design for Coate area for comment


Swindon Borough Council
Wat Tyler House
Beckhampton Street
Tel:-          01793 463000
DX:-          133055 Swindon 16
Mincom:-  01793 436659
Please ask for:
Nicola Smith
Direct Dial No:
01793 466517
Our Ref:
13th February 2013

Re: Commonhead Phase 1 Design Codes - Discharge of condition 5 from Outline Planning Permission S/10/0842

I write to notify you that the Commonhead Phase 1 Design Code has been submitted by Barton Wilmore on behalf of the developers Persimmon and Redrow. This submission is in accordance with Condition 5 of the Outline Planning Permission for Commonhead. The remaining residential areas, hospital expansion site and business park will be separately design coded and submitted for consideration at a later date.

Condition 5 of the Outline Planning Permission (ref: S/10/0842) for Commonhead, requires the formal submission and approval of Design Codes to develop and interpret the approved Land Use Master Plan before more detailed applications may be considered.

The submitted Design Code is also available to view at Wat Tyler West Reception, Beckhampton Street, Swindon, SN1 2JH and The Village Inn, Liddington I also direct you to view the submitted Design Code online by clicking on the following link:

Please note these are large files and may take some time to download.

Any comments you may have regarding the submitted District Centre Design Code must be submitted in writing to the contact details noted below before 4.30pm on 8 March 2013 and quote reference number S/COND/13/0195.

Send your written comments to the following address:                      

 Masterplanning and Design Team
5th Floor,
Wat Tyler House,
Beckhampton Street,

Or by email to:          design&

We would take this opportunity to advise that the principle of the Commonhead development has been established and comments relating to the strategic allocation of this site for development are no longer applicable.

Yours sincerely,

N Smith
Masterplanning and Design Team
Swindon Borough Council




Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Open letter to the Prime Minister

Dear David Cameron

I write as the Honorary Secretary of two charities: the Richard Jefferies Society and the Jefferies Land Conservation Trust.
You were interviewed on Countryfile by John Craven and you gave an assurance that no greenfield land would be built on where the following applied:

1. Special interest – historic, landscape, cultural

2. Local people opposed

3. Local authority opposed

4. Other sites available

You are obviously not aware of building proposals that were granted permission earlier this year by your Secretary of State for a development that ticked all these requirements. These apply to a planned housing estate and industrial site at Coate and Badbury Wick that lies in the foothills of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the south east of Swindon and very close to Coate Water Site of Special Scientific Interest. The area is rich in ecology, archaeology, and was immortalised and made famous by the Victorian nature writer, Richard Jefferies whose birthplace abuts the development site and is now a museum. The planning application was opposed by over 52,000 people who signed a petition, Robert Buckland MP and the conservative led planning committee. Other sites are available to meet Swindon’s 5 year land supply of housing depending on what targets are agreed.

On page 32 of the Church Times (14 December 2012) there is an interview with Candida Lycett Green – author, broadcaster, journalist and Sir John Betjeman’s daughter. The questions asked of her cover a considerable amount of ground but her clear passion for the Downs near to where she lives at Uffington, Oxfordshire and her love of old buildings and England’s countryside reveal how she follows in her father’s footsteps. In response to changing one thing in England, Ms Lycett Green said that she would “stop the present Government making a balls-up of the planning system ... They will be the Government to go down in history as wrecking England”. And her anger is directed at “greedy developers’ building on Richard Jefferies’s sacred Greenfield landscape outside Swindon”.   There is also an article by Candida Lycett Green in the January 2013 edition of the Countryfile magazine. She writes a heartfelt plea about what has happened to Swindon, and in particular how no one has taken any notice of the Richard Jefferies Society regarding development on Jefferies Land at Coate. She states that David Cameron says that he will defend his beautiful part of Oxfordshire against the builders, and then she compares this to the fate of Swindon (her nearest big town), where countless developments have covered the town, and in spite of many in-fill sites available how Redrow Homes are set to build on the only decent historical/literary area of land in the town at Coate.

I realise that you are powerless to reverse a planning decision and your Secretary of State has not made an unlawful decision. However, the decision is wrong and has created bitter resentment in Swindon, not to say total disillusionment with your government’s commitment to protect important greenfield sites whilst bringing in a National Planning Policy Framework that makes it easier to build anywhere.

 We are now faced with a draft Swindon Borough Local Plan 2026 that has a policy in place that permits the planned development at Coate whilst providing a non-development buffer for some of the countryside of landscape, ecological, archaeological and cultural importance. However the building plans will set a precedent for more infill and the plan only runs to 2026 – just time for Redrow Homes and Persimmon Homes to lobby for infill development on the grounds that it will be more sustainable to build next to their existing estate.  

 There are many thousands of people who will never forgive this government for what has happened at Coate.
Yours sincerely
Jean Saunders

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Great white egret at Coate Water

Great White Egret by Tony Martin on 15 December 2012

A Great White Egret has been spotted at Coate Water Site of Special Scientific Interest over the last few days. It is a very rare visitor to Wiltshire and a very exciting spot.

English Nature will add the bird to its list for Coate Water SSSI.

How sad that Redrow Homes and Persimmon Homes have planning permission to build nearly 900 houses and a massive business park very close to the nature reserve.  Indeed it is a tragedy.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

latest draft planning policy proposed for Coate & Badbury Wick

A draft Swindon Borough Local Plan 2026 is likely to go out for public consultation in December 2012 for an 8 week period. The Local Plan is the bible for developers and the blue-print of how Swindon will be expected to develop from 2011-2026 albeit that Swidon Council has already overestimated how may new houses will be built.

This is the policy relating to the Coate area and please note that there is no proposed protected buffer of land next to the south of Coate Water Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Friday, March 23, 2012

proposed design of development

We may not have the most up-to-date drawings of what Redrow Homes and Persimmon Homes propose to build, but these were the illustrations that accompanied their original 2010 planning application:

Coate style houses

Badbury Wick style

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Developers win the appeal

The Secretary of State has issued his decision about the Coate Appeal and the bad news is that we have lost. Planning permission has been granted and you can read the full report here:

The blame lies totally with Swindon Council who have pushed the Coate area forward for housing development and business/industrial use through the Local Plan and the emerging Core Strategy.  We have been stuffed by them and don't you forget it.