Call for rethink on Wichelstowe district centre plan

The Wichelstowe development with Drove Vets Centre, the M4 and Croft Road/ Swindon Road going to Wroughton

Councillor Brian Ford

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @SwindonAdver007

DISAPPOINTED Wroughton residents urged planners to go back to the drawing board after new plans for a nearby district centre failed to answer any of their concerns.

A public meeting on Wednesday aimed to update the community on plans for the Middle Wichel District Centre, set to include a 2,500sq metre supermarket, rumoured to be a Waitrose, and other facilities for the community of Wichelstowe.

The site covers 3.5 hectares off Peglars Way and Foxham Way at the centre of Wichelstowe.

Swindon Council is currently in the process of developing a development framework and design codes for the district centre to set the context for a planning application for the foodstore and any other district centre developments.

However, they were given a frosty reception from residents who say they cannot comment on the plans without being given answers to the concerns they raised at a meeting in May, regarding the impact on the surrounding road network, access routes and traffic.

Residents say there is already a problem with congestion in the area and, unless they can be given answers on how the developers plan to prevent this becoming worse once the centre is built, they cannot comment on the plans.

Paul Hurst, of Wroughton Parish Council, was one of many people who addressed the council officers at the meeting.

He said: “Our meeting was in May, you said you have listened, but I don’t think you are addressing the problems from that.”

Resident Amanda Woodhead said: “It feels like a lot of changes are being made to the plans and we are being told everything will be all right in the end, but we don’t know that because we don’t really know what we are getting. We are all feeling a bit nervous.”

Coun Brian Ford, (Con, Wroughton & Wichelstowe) said: “The officers are going to have to come back with some very firm ideas. The concerns haven’t gone away. We have made some progress, we’ve worked hard. The whole thing comes down to time scales, that is the problem we’ve got.

“The people in East Wichel are complaining there’s no services so we’re trying to put that right, but we need to know about the roads.

“I think the officers know what they need to do and will come back to the next meeting with some answers.”

Coun Ford said Swindon Council is reviewing costings for both a bridge and tunnel access to Wichelstowe. The bridge is favoured by many in Wroughton as it would keep the bulk of traffic north of the motorway.

The deadline for feedback on the district centre is November 15. The design team will then incorporate feedback within the plans.

The plans are expected to be discussed by the planning committee in either February or March next year.

To view the consultation material visit www.wichelstowe.co.uk.

Comments (5)

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11:11pm Thu 8 Nov 12

wiltshiregal says...

So, people move into an unpopular development and then complain about the facilities! One word springs to mind _ Karma!!
So, people move into an unpopular development and then complain about the facilities! One word springs to mind _ Karma!! wiltshiregal
  • Score: 0

8:39am Fri 9 Nov 12

Former Kingsdownman says...

As a resident of East Wichel not some petty keyboard warrior, I would like to point out that it is not an unpopular development as the people that live here like it. We also are interested, note INTERESTED not complaining, in when the facilities that are on the plans for the overall development will be built.

The pub that many people said was not needed, would be empty is doing well and is hard to get a table at weekend due to its popularity. Probably full of the same Old Town & Wroughton Nimbys who riled against the development.

Also for the Wroughton residents that were so anti the district centre, why did you want a petrol station there. Don't you have one in Wroughton? Oh no, you did but because you never used it it closed a few years ago.

So Wiltshiregal, you do not like the development, good you do not have to live here, visit here or have anything to do with it. There are plenty of very interesting, friendly and nice people who live here who like living here and are interested in finding out when facilities that are on the master plan will be built
As a resident of East Wichel not some petty keyboard warrior, I would like to point out that it is not an unpopular development as the people that live here like it. We also are interested, note INTERESTED not complaining, in when the facilities that are on the plans for the overall development will be built. The pub that many people said was not needed, would be empty is doing well and is hard to get a table at weekend due to its popularity. Probably full of the same Old Town & Wroughton Nimbys who riled against the development. Also for the Wroughton residents that were so anti the district centre, why did you want a petrol station there. Don't you have one in Wroughton? Oh no, you did but because you never used it it closed a few years ago. So Wiltshiregal, you do not like the development, good you do not have to live here, visit here or have anything to do with it. There are plenty of very interesting, friendly and nice people who live here who like living here and are interested in finding out when facilities that are on the master plan will be built Former Kingsdownman
  • Score: 0

8:43am Fri 9 Nov 12

StillPav says...

Let’s face facts, Wichelstowe has been a flop. Nobody wants to buy a house that is right next to a motorway and as a consequence the only homes that are populated are the housing association properties, which in turn makes the area more unattractive to any owner-occupiers.

The plans to build more houses up to junction 16 should be scrapped and the area should be used for commercial, retail and leisure, like Reading have done very successfully around junction 11. A new out-of-town retail park, similar to the Orbital Centre should be built to serve south Swindon and the area next to junction 16 would be ideal for a new football stadium.
Let’s face facts, Wichelstowe has been a flop. Nobody wants to buy a house that is right next to a motorway and as a consequence the only homes that are populated are the housing association properties, which in turn makes the area more unattractive to any owner-occupiers. The plans to build more houses up to junction 16 should be scrapped and the area should be used for commercial, retail and leisure, like Reading have done very successfully around junction 11. A new out-of-town retail park, similar to the Orbital Centre should be built to serve south Swindon and the area next to junction 16 would be ideal for a new football stadium. StillPav
  • Score: 1

9:08am Fri 9 Nov 12

Former Kingsdownman says...

Wrong. You don't know what you are talking about.

People are buying houses there what caused a problem was a financial and economic crisis that stopped house sales not just in Wichestowe but all across Swindon and the country. Now that banks are beginning to lend again, the sales are coming back. We moved in weeks ago as did our neighbours and guess what we are all owner occupiers with mortgages and jobs.

Yes there are housing association properties/tenants here and I personally welcome that. Every new development has to have a mix of houses and long may that continue. A sensible decision was made to bring the housing association building plan forward while there was no market for private purchases (not just in Wichelstowe but everywhere). Let's look at who is building currently - those well known housing associations Persimmon & Taylor Wimpey.

Still never let reality interfere with your prejudices eh?

As for an Orbital Centre style development that is exactly what the plans were discussing that Wroughton residents are against. The plans look good but are probably not as large as the Orbital. Personally I think the Centre should be built as soon as possible.

Have you bothered to look at the plans or attend one of the presentations? Probably not I would say.

The debate about the football stadium is a good one to have. Personally I like where the stadium is as it has a great atmosphere walking to and from the ground as many people walk there. On the other hand a shiny new purpose built stadium would be nice to have especially if it allowed a ground share with a rugby club. But that is a different debate for a different day.
Wrong. You don't know what you are talking about. People are buying houses there what caused a problem was a financial and economic crisis that stopped house sales not just in Wichestowe but all across Swindon and the country. Now that banks are beginning to lend again, the sales are coming back. We moved in weeks ago as did our neighbours and guess what we are all owner occupiers with mortgages and jobs. Yes there are housing association properties/tenants here and I personally welcome that. Every new development has to have a mix of houses and long may that continue. A sensible decision was made to bring the housing association building plan forward while there was no market for private purchases (not just in Wichelstowe but everywhere). Let's look at who is building currently - those well known housing associations Persimmon & Taylor Wimpey. Still never let reality interfere with your prejudices eh? As for an Orbital Centre style development that is exactly what the plans were discussing that Wroughton residents are against. The plans look good but are probably not as large as the Orbital. Personally I think the Centre should be built as soon as possible. Have you bothered to look at the plans or attend one of the presentations? Probably not I would say. The debate about the football stadium is a good one to have. Personally I like where the stadium is as it has a great atmosphere walking to and from the ground as many people walk there. On the other hand a shiny new purpose built stadium would be nice to have especially if it allowed a ground share with a rugby club. But that is a different debate for a different day. Former Kingsdownman
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Fri 9 Nov 12

Myday says...

The petrol station at Pebley Beach was continually used by Wroughton people including myself. Please get your facts right. It was closed by the garage owners. The petrol station at Haskins probably closed through lack of use as it was charging too much for petrol compared to others nearby. I would love a reasonably priced petrol station in Wroughton as I have to drive to Old Town or West Swindon for petrol now. I am very pleased you are happy living there.
The petrol station at Pebley Beach was continually used by Wroughton people including myself. Please get your facts right. It was closed by the garage owners. The petrol station at Haskins probably closed through lack of use as it was charging too much for petrol compared to others nearby. I would love a reasonably priced petrol station in Wroughton as I have to drive to Old Town or West Swindon for petrol now. I am very pleased you are happy living there. Myday
  • Score: 0

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