Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Planning decision - reasons for refusal

The reasons for refusing the Coate development planning application have gone up at

1. The proposed development by reason of its substantial scale and location is considered to be so significant to the future growth of the Borough of Swindon when considered against other suitable locations that it will be premature inadvance of the examination and adoption of the Swindon Core Strategy Revised Proposed Submission Document. This document is still under review and neither public consultation nor examination of the issues has yet been completed. The
Council considers that if planning permission were to be granted it would prejudice the outcome of the plan process by predetermining decisions about the appropriateness of the location, the scale and phasing of new development that should properly to be taken in the development plan context. The proposal therefore does not comply with national planning policies PPS1 and PPS3; is contrary to policies DS1, H4 and ENV9 of the Swindon Local Plan 2011 (2006)
and policy DP3 of the Wiltshire and Swindon Structure Plan 2016 (2006).

2. The proposed development by virtue of the increased levels of traffic associated with this mixed use development will have an unacceptable impact on traffic flows on Marlborough Road and Day House Lane compromising highway safety. Furthermore the location of the employment land, its sole vehicular access via the spine road/boulevard and expected weight of traffic within the site will result in a car dominated development and unacceptable level of severance to the detriment of residential amenity. The proposal is therefore contrary to national guidance in Manual for Streets 1 and 2 and policies DS6 and DS7 of the Swindon Borough Local Plan 2011 (2006).

3. The proposed development by virtue of its scale and location will have an unacceptable impact on the setting and intrinsic qualities of part of the adjacent North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in that the proposed mixed use development, some of which may be up to four storeys in height will fail to maintain an attractive and sympathetic vista from the Downs and a foreground that softens the urban edge of Swindon, or demonstrate that the intrinsic qualities of the AONB can be sufficiently protected. The proposal is therefore contrary to Planning Policy Statement 7, and fails to comply with policies DS6 and ENV10 of the Swindon Borough Local Plan 2011(2006)

4. The proposal by virtue of its scale and setting fails to satisfactorily consider in any detail the importance of the surrounding landscape as a heritage asset. The literary work of Richard Jefferies as a nature writer is significant in understanding the landscape of the Coate and Badbury Wick areas together with their relationship with the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and conversely the appreciation of his own work. If approved, this development will have a detrimental effect on this intrinsic historic value and importance, and
would in this respect be harmful to the visual amenity of the area as a whole. The proposal fails to comply with policies HE6, HE7, HE9, HE10, and of PPS5 and policies DS6 and ENV10, of the Swindon Borough Local Plan 2011 (2006) .

:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

The developers have still got 6 months to appeal and we still have an emerging policy in the Swindon Core Strategy for "Commonhead" to chuck out.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Will Persimmon Homes appeal after all?

In a quote from Paul Davis of Persimmon Homes, printed in the Swindon Advertiser on 10 June, a shadow of doubt has been cast as to whether the developers will appeal against the decision to refuse planning permission.
Paul Davis is reported as saying: 
“We’re considering our options. We’ve not made up our minds what we’re going to do yet. It’s not known when we’ll come to a decision. When we do we’ll let everyone know. But we’re not there yet.”
He said an appeal seemed ‘the obvious riposte’, but added: “We could put a new application and start again. I’m not saying that’s a possibility because honestly we haven’t decided yet.
“Or we could say we’ve spent so much money on this we’ll just throw in the towel.
“It’s a possibility; we have to work within our own financial guidelines. All things are being considered.”

Please urge Persimmon Homes to go for the option to “just throw in the towel.”


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Planning permission refused

After a long discussion with some tremendous speeches made by the public and some unexpected contributions from councillors, it was moved by Cllr Junab Ali, seconded by Cllr Fionuala Foley, that planning permission should be refused. The vote was 9-2 with the majority of the planning committee members voting for refusal. 
The members were placed under a lot of pressure to vote through the planning application, but they stood firm.
The main reasons given to refuse include traffic and transport matters, sustainability matters, impact on views from the North Wessex Downs AONB, heritage (ie Richard Jefferies) value, public opinion etc.
The developers will appeal.
It is now important that policy NC3 is thrown out of the emerging Swindon Core Strategy.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Jefferies Land Conservation Trust call for right to challenge plans for Coate

The Jefferies Land Conservation Trust is calling on Swindon Borough Council to throw out the planning proposals for Coate at their planning committee meeting on Tuesday 7 June on the grounds that the blueprint for planning the town’s future has not been agreed through the development plan process.
On top of the 52,000 petition that calls for no development at Coate the Trust has raised a new petition that has attracted nearly 3,000 signatures in response to the Core Strategy consultation that does not finish until 16 June. It states:
We, the undersigned, petition Swindon Borough Council to designate the open countryside between the A419, the Marlborough Road, the motorway and Broome Manor Lane as a high quality Landscape Character Area in order to protect the landscape setting of Coate Water Country Park, Dayhouse Copse Local Nature Reserve, the natural and archaeological history, as well as the literary importance of Jefferies Land and the views from the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Jean Saunders, honorary secretary of the Jefferies Land Conservation Trust said:
“If we are forced to give up more of Jefferies Land to development, we would like the opportunity to debate what scale and design of development might be acceptable under the emerging ‘Commonhead’ policy. A high landscape protection policy for the area won’t stop all development but we can insist on something special, linked to the function of the hospital, but of a traditional layout similar to Hodson village. Up until the university proposals came along, the landscape was protected in the town plan.”
Mrs Saunders added:   
“If Swindon Borough Council is really serious about involving communities in how they shape their town then it is vital that they take on board public criticism of the current planning application and the proposed policy in the Swindon Core Strategy. If planning permission is allowed next week, we will be denied the right to challenge the scale, location, design and layout of any development. This is undemocratic and unfair.”
Swindon Council’s Planning Committee meet in the Council Chamber at 6pm on Tuesday 7 June to decide the fate of Redrow Homes and Persimmon Homes planning application to build nearly 900 houses on countryside east of Day House Lane and a large industrial site to the west of the country lane.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Swindon Council planning committee 7 June 2011

The Swindon Gateway planning application comes up before the planning committee on Tuesday 7 June 2011 - meeting starts at 6pm in the Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Euclid Street Swindon.

More information under Agenda Item 6 at this link

Once again the planning officer recommendation is to approve planning permission despite the fact that the consultation for the Swindon Core Strategy doesn't even finish until 16 June.

There is no urgency to allow this planning application to go through. According to the new housing needs figures coming through the Core Strategy, there is an available supply of land on which to build houses for the next 5.64 years. 

Please write to the new members of the planning committee before the Tuesday meeting. There is only one councillor who cannot be contacted by e-mail.
Please attend the planning meeting and if you would like to speak, register with Iain Tucker.

Planning Committee
Tuesday, 7th June, 2011 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices.
Contact: Iain Tucker (Telephone 01793 463605)  email:  itucker@swindon.gov.uk