Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Swindon Council push ahead with their plans to develop Coate

Although government is, as yet, to announce its decision about the planning application for development between Coate Water and the A419 Trunk road (the deadline set is 6 August), Swindon Borough Council is still pushing forward with its Core Strategy to permit 750 houses, 15 hectares of employment premises and shops to be built there.

In a document that is likely to be approved by Cabinet at its meeting on 10 June, a new policy for building at “Commonhead” is proposed. Whilst it calls for the creation of “a functional and robust buffer between Coate Water Country Park and new development”, we ask what has happened to the other “robust buffer” promised when the hospital was given the go ahead and the “no houses” promise, if no university materialises?

How can we believe that the land between Coate Water and the new development will be protected in perpetuity when the Council constantly changes its mind?

Councils have a duty to “inform, consult and engage” local communities in everything they do. So why aren’t they listening to the opinion of over 50,000 people who object to the scheme?


This is what the new proposed policy says:

SSP7: Commonhead

Swindon Borough Core Strategy (Proposed Submission Document)

1. Provision will be made for a mixed-use urban extension of 750
dwellings to the north and east of Day House Lane at Commonhead. Development
proposals at this site must:

a) Make provision for the equivalent of 1 primary school or 2 Forms of
Entry, and

b) Make appropriate contributions towards the delivery of new secondary
school facilities, and

c) Provide around 15 hectares of employment land, and

d) Safeguard around 5.5 hectares of land for future expansion of the Great
Western Hospital, and

e) Provide sustainable transport links to the existing urban area and
Swindon town centre, and

f) Provide a neighbourhood centre including retail facilities appropriate to
meet local need, and

g) Provide an appropriate scale and range of formal and informal sport,
leisure and recreation areas in accordance with policy , and

h) Protect and mitigate the impact of development upon archaeological
features, and

i) Create a functional and robust buffer between Coate Water Country Park
and new development, and

j) Respect views from the North Wessex Downs AONB and from Coate Water
Country Park minimising the impact on the landscape character of the area.