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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
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.