Tuesday, November 23, 2010

latest on the Swindon Gateway planning application

Objections to the planning application for 960 houses etc have been lodged by Natural England, the Environment Agency, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment). About 100 objectors have submitted comments in all.

The CABE response has been put up on SBC’s planning portal - essentially they object that the proposed layout and design is poor

If this doesn't work, go to and look in the folders.

The response from Natural England is pretty strong as they now have the remit to cover landscape matters (i.e. development that has an impact on the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) as well as conservation issues related to Coate Water Site of Special Scientific Interest. They are highly critical of the likely impact of the development on views from Liddington Hill and the Downs; they have concerns about the height of buildings, loss of mature trees, and the lack of information in the planning application as to what the development would look like. Least of all, Richard Jefferies is actually mentioned – at last!!! It says: “The significance of cultural associations with Richard Jefferies are under-estimated; it was the landscape in the vicinity that prompted much of his work, and much of that work was related to envisioning a future, changing environment (notably ‘After London’).”

With regard the potential impact on Coate Water, the main objection relates to the impact of development on the D-shaped field that is not within the country park and is outside the planning application area. This field is lovely and boggy (it is part of Day House farm) and is much used by over-wintering and breeding birds. Those who know it will be aware that there is a footpath that runs through the middle that attracts very few visitors. Natural England makes much of the fact that this field and footpath would become a major corridor for dog-walkers etc (as the other main footpaths run alongside the M4) whilst their concerns about cat predation is flagged up as a major concern.

Other objections are raised by them and others.

Evidently a revised planning application is to be submitted to Swindon Borough Council soon. It is expected that the housing numbers will be reduced from 960 to 890 along with other proposals that include a reduction in density and the height of buildings and to take out the landfill area from the development area.