HUNDREDS of objections have been submitted by Wroughton residents and outside agencies about plans to build on fields behind Marlborough Road.
Residents say they are particularly concerned that the plan to build up to 103 homes to the east of Marlborough Road may put pedestrians’ lives at risk on an already dangerous thoroughfare, and potentially see existing homes underwater.
Cathy Martyn is one of the residents most concerned about the increase in traffic along Marlborough Road, plans to insert a T-junction access road and the perceived risk to pedestrians.
The 46-year-old said: “The pavement is already very narrow and if a car goes past and you’re carrying shopping, you have to turn sideways to let the car go past. “It’s the same if you are walking with a child and a car goes past, you have to hold their hand and have them walk in front of you or behind you.
“It’s not even wide enough for a wheelchair.
“And if it’s a lorry, they have wing mirrors which overhang the pavement.”
At the moment, on-road parking along Marlborough Road acts as a buffer to pedestrians walking along the narrow pavements as vehicles drive down Brimble Hill.
But with the development, on-road parking will disappear, providing more room for more vehicles.
Coun Wayne Crabbe (Con, Wroughton and Wichelstowe) said: “All the councillors, no matter their political affiliations, are in agreement against this. Currently parked cars are enough to protect pedestrians crossing the road or walking along pavements, acting as a buffer. “At the moment it just means that every so often we lose a car, but if they take them away then it could be a mother and a child.”
A secondary concern is that if the development goes ahead, existing residents could see their homes underwater as the work develops on a natural sponge.
Even a flood risk assessment commissioned by Hannick Homes indicated that there was some risk of flooding from rising groundwater, and recommended that the ground floor of dwellings should be at least 150mm above ground level to mitigate this.
In the report, environmental consultants Enzygo said: “The secondary flooding source will only inundate the site to a relatively low water depth and water velocity, will only last a short period of time, in very extreme cases, and will not have an impact on the whole of the proposed development site. It is recommended that a precautionary approach is taken whereby internal finished floor levels of all proposed building footprints are located at a minimum of 150mm above external levels to mitigate secondary flooding sources.”
But although this will protect the new homes, Cathy said that it will not protect existing homeowners from the floods.
She said: “The water table is naturally very high here, it’s only 30cm below the surface so if it rains, then we flood, and the fields they want to build on are already saturated. In the summer while everyone else has hosepipe bans we don’t have to worry because the ground is so wet.”
Resident of 38 years David Bryant said: “The fields act as a natural sponge at the bottom of all the surrounding hills, and soak everything up.
“But some of our houses’ foundations are below ground level, and without the fields taking the water then our houses could flood.”
To view the application plans, visit http://pa.swindon.gov.uk/publicaccess/search.do and search for S/OUT/13/1862 To find out more about the residents’ objections, or to get in touch, email councillor Ann Richards at firstname.lastname@example.org