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Come on, sort this out please
CALLS for Swindon Council to sort out its local plan have been made by a parish councillor who fears developers are land grabbing while the borough is left open.
Wroughton Parish councillor John Newman is concerned Swindon is being exposed to unfair and unrealistic planning proposals while Swindon Council is dealing with a number of inconsistencies with its Local Plan.
The planning inspectorate Mike Fox has called for an exploratory meeting to take place in November to allow the authority to discuss issues still surrounding Swindon’s Local Plan for thousands of new homes to be built by 2026.
Once these issues have been resolved it is hoped that an examination in public will take place ahead of a local plan being adopted.
Last Saturday pre-application plans for a 100-home development were shown to residents in Wroughton at a public consultation hosted by Hunter Page, acting for Hannick Homes.
Coun Newman said these plans, which were largely criticised by residents, were evidence of developers cashing in on the borough’s lack of a local plan.
“It’s really just a bit of a punt,” said Coun Newman. “If they had any chance of getting this through it would be while we didn’t have a Local Plan. The pressure is on for the council to sort out the inconsistencies so an examination in public can begin.”
He said the site picked by Hannick Homes had unsuitable access and the size of the development was too large.
Within the Local Plan Wroughton has been earmarked for 150 new homes to be built by 2026, meaning this development would take up a huge chunk of the town’s housing provision.
"The Council submitted it's Local Plan to the Planning Inspector three months ago for approval, and we are expecting what amounts to a public enquiry at the start of 2014.
“Once approved this plan will set out how Swindon will grow over the next 15 years.
“Swindon Council and parish councils all have a part to play in the planning process.
“If Wroughton Parish Council is serious about preventing any speculative planning applications then they need to proactively agree now their own neighbourhood plan. This would say what development is acceptable and what is not acceptable in the village, but it doesn't currently exist."
Jamie Lewis, planning consultant at Hunter Page, acting for Hannick Homes, said: “I would say most people are concerned that there needs to be as much housing in Wroughton as the Local Plan sets out.
“People who live close to the site are concerned about the usual things.
“Difficult issues have been raised but we have also had people saying it is a good site and we need more housing, But they are certainly in the minority.
“We feel we have a suitable access point. We have been looking at putting in drop kerbs and a crossing to the other side where they have a footpath.
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