Gipsy site bid sparks road safety concerns on the A420

Swindon Advertiser: Campaigners at the proposed entrance to a new travellers camp near Watchfield Buy this photo » Campaigners at the proposed entrance to a new travellers camp near Watchfield

FEARFUL residents and councillors are raising concerns about revised plans for a gipsy site on the edge of Watchfield.

The traveller community has applied for change of use of land on the corner of B4508 and A420 to create eight pitches and additional hard standing and utility or dayrooms.

In June 2011, the Vale of White Horse District Council, the planning authority in that area, successfully fought a second appeal over plans to create a gipsy site there.

Inspector Mark Dakeyne said there was a clear and immediate need for more gipsy sites in the area, and its impact on the environment would be acceptable, but this did not override the highway safety objections to the proposals, particularly those related to the risks to pedestrians.

Now Watchfield Parish Council, some residents and the two district councillors, Elaine Ware and Simon Howell (both Con, Shrivenham), have vowed to fight the revised application, which now includes a pedestrian refuge on the A420.

Parish council chairman Derek Gale said it would be dangerous.

He said: “Although we have some objections to do with policy and the fact we consider it to be an inappropriate change of use, we’re very concerned about highway safety and don’t feel that the proposed pedestrian refuge is a satisfactory response.”

The site is expected to be brought up during a visit at the weekend of Wantage MP Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications and creative industries.

Several residents have written to the district council, urging the planning committee to reject the application, which is expected to be considered in January.

Glyn Jones, of the High Street, wrote: “The main road is heavily used and vehicles pass the site area at high speed.

“The Highworth junction has been the scene of a number of major accidents. The proposed pedestrian crossing arrangements will be a significant hazard for both pedestrians and motorists.”

The gipsy’s planning agent, Matthew Green, of Green Planning Solutions LLP, said people had been crossing the A420 for years at that point without a crossing. But the planning inspector thought one was necessary so the applicant had agreed with Wiltshire Council to install one if the plans are approved.

He said: “What they really don’t want is a gipsy site. That’s what it boils down to."

Comments (12)

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10:21pm Tue 4 Dec 12

Malkym says...

I'm a bit confused with this picture - is that the gipsy contingent or the protesters?
I'm a bit confused with this picture - is that the gipsy contingent or the protesters? Malkym

10:24pm Tue 4 Dec 12

Malkym says...

The road safety defence is of course a cop out - what they really mean is not in my back yard guv!! Still I've always thought Watchfield a rather dull name for a place - New Dale Farm Estate sounds much better I think!
The road safety defence is of course a cop out - what they really mean is not in my back yard guv!! Still I've always thought Watchfield a rather dull name for a place - New Dale Farm Estate sounds much better I think! Malkym

6:36am Wed 5 Dec 12

gambon says...

oh dear the people of watchfield don't want any cheap tarmac drives then
oh dear the people of watchfield don't want any cheap tarmac drives then gambon

7:01am Wed 5 Dec 12

Tonyblairisthedevil says...

What i dont get is why they call themselves "Travellers" when they want to stay put... Surely travellers means just that?

Tax dodging parasites is a better name for them.
What i dont get is why they call themselves "Travellers" when they want to stay put... Surely travellers means just that? Tax dodging parasites is a better name for them. Tonyblairisthedevil

10:03am Wed 5 Dec 12

ken1414 says...

There are genuine safety concerns over the proposed ‘crossing’ as it will encourage local children to cross a busy road on a dangerous crossing where the speed limit will remain 60mph. There are current plans to build over all the open spaces in Watchfield, which means local people will have to cross the A420 to use the nearest open space. Military personal serving in Afghanistan should not have to worry about the safety of their children in the UK in this way.
Local residents are working hard to try and reduce the high death toll on the A420, but if these comments are indicative of the attitude of those in Swindon why should we bother. Hopefully those leaving silly comments will be the next ones in a serious accident. Karma.
Of course it would be nice if Swindon actually sorted out the problems they have caused. The long delays caused by the traffic lights on the A420 for the new Swindon police station have caused 15% of traffic on the A420 to use the B4506 road as a rat run. Quite why Swindon thought it was acceptable to do this when traffic from the police station could have joined the A420 via the nearby roundabout is an interesting question. It is of course still open to the police to correct this mistake and put their main entrance on the road to South Marston. I doubt this will happen as the police talk about road safety but do nothing themselves.
There are genuine safety concerns over the proposed ‘crossing’ as it will encourage local children to cross a busy road on a dangerous crossing where the speed limit will remain 60mph. There are current plans to build over all the open spaces in Watchfield, which means local people will have to cross the A420 to use the nearest open space. Military personal serving in Afghanistan should not have to worry about the safety of their children in the UK in this way. Local residents are working hard to try and reduce the high death toll on the A420, but if these comments are indicative of the attitude of those in Swindon why should we bother. Hopefully those leaving silly comments will be the next ones in a serious accident. Karma. Of course it would be nice if Swindon actually sorted out the problems they have caused. The long delays caused by the traffic lights on the A420 for the new Swindon police station have caused 15% of traffic on the A420 to use the B4506 road as a rat run. Quite why Swindon thought it was acceptable to do this when traffic from the police station could have joined the A420 via the nearby roundabout is an interesting question. It is of course still open to the police to correct this mistake and put their main entrance on the road to South Marston. I doubt this will happen as the police talk about road safety but do nothing themselves. ken1414

10:06am Wed 5 Dec 12

ken1414 says...

To those leaving silly comments you might like to know that 75% of the population of Watchfield are serving military offices, from the UK and overseas. Nice to see that you like to insult them in this way!
To those leaving silly comments you might like to know that 75% of the population of Watchfield are serving military offices, from the UK and overseas. Nice to see that you like to insult them in this way! ken1414

10:50am Wed 5 Dec 12

gina948 says...

Ouch Ken I think they were just having a joke. No body wants a traveller site near where they live and I understand your perspective regarding the road safety concerns.
I think its unfair to point your finger at the people of Swindon as I for one am not a Swindonian and like many people of the town, I work here and I live here but just because there is one moron doesnt make us all morons! Road planning = cost = a negative impact on safety (usually) so while the local council may have factored in cost over safety when designing the new police station its not unusual! Many town councils do this! The problem is the long term impact of those using the A420 (which is by far not my favourite road to use either) when there's an increased amount of pressure from residents, be it a traveller site or a new housing estate. Good luck with the campaign Ken.
Ouch Ken I think they were just having a joke. No body wants a traveller site near where they live and I understand your perspective regarding the road safety concerns. I think its unfair to point your finger at the people of Swindon as I for one am not a Swindonian and like many people of the town, I work here and I live here but just because there is one moron doesnt make us all morons! Road planning = cost = a negative impact on safety (usually) so while the local council may have factored in cost over safety when designing the new police station its not unusual! Many town councils do this! The problem is the long term impact of those using the A420 (which is by far not my favourite road to use either) when there's an increased amount of pressure from residents, be it a traveller site or a new housing estate. Good luck with the campaign Ken. gina948

11:24am Wed 5 Dec 12

RichardR1 says...

What you have to remember is they will have a ready source of income from all the cabling installed at the Solar Farm.

Also this land was originally locally owned so perhaps the person who sold it to these travellers like to explain their actions.

As has been said travellers are not if they want a permanent site. I bet they won't want to pay what the rest of us have to.
What you have to remember is they will have a ready source of income from all the cabling installed at the Solar Farm. Also this land was originally locally owned so perhaps the person who sold it to these travellers like to explain their actions. As has been said travellers are not if they want a permanent site. I bet they won't want to pay what the rest of us have to. RichardR1

3:15pm Wed 5 Dec 12

gina948 says...

RichardR1 wrote:
What you have to remember is they will have a ready source of income from all the cabling installed at the Solar Farm. Also this land was originally locally owned so perhaps the person who sold it to these travellers like to explain their actions. As has been said travellers are not if they want a permanent site. I bet they won't want to pay what the rest of us have to.
Hmm a very valid point!
[quote][p][bold]RichardR1[/bold] wrote: What you have to remember is they will have a ready source of income from all the cabling installed at the Solar Farm. Also this land was originally locally owned so perhaps the person who sold it to these travellers like to explain their actions. As has been said travellers are not if they want a permanent site. I bet they won't want to pay what the rest of us have to.[/p][/quote]Hmm a very valid point! gina948

4:39pm Wed 5 Dec 12

twasadawf says...

Why do travellers get special treatment ? if i was to buy a plot of land without planning permission on it i know for a fact there would be no way that the local council would allow me to build on it, they built a camp out bassett and the people next to the site couldn't sell there house, (probally sold it to the gypsies at a bargin price)
Why do travellers get special treatment ? if i was to buy a plot of land without planning permission on it i know for a fact there would be no way that the local council would allow me to build on it, they built a camp out bassett and the people next to the site couldn't sell there house, (probally sold it to the gypsies at a bargin price) twasadawf

7:18pm Wed 5 Dec 12

Top hat says...

Several vehicles involved in incident on A420 at Shrivenham.

This headline was just under the Travellers story on this website showing this road, and especially the junctions along it, are dangerous. Two people were killed in separate incidents crossing this road in Faringdon earlier this year.

When you consider all the things you are not allowed to do because of health and safety - play conkers, remove hanging baskets, the list is endless - then approving this 'refuge' in the position proposed is like putting it in the middle of the motorway. 20,500 vehicles are recorded as using this road daily. The chances of not just one child but a number of children waiting together on this 'refuge' being in collision with a vehicle, especially a large lorry, is very high.

twasadawf is absolutely right about gaining planning permission on a field. I wanted to apply for permission to build a house on a field and was told that I had to prove I had a thriving business for two years before applying otherwise permission would never be considered and there were no busy roads.
Several vehicles involved in incident on A420 at Shrivenham. This headline was just under the Travellers story on this website showing this road, and especially the junctions along it, are dangerous. Two people were killed in separate incidents crossing this road in Faringdon earlier this year. When you consider all the things you are not allowed to do because of health and safety - play conkers, remove hanging baskets, the list is endless - then approving this 'refuge' in the position proposed is like putting it in the middle of the motorway. 20,500 vehicles are recorded as using this road daily. The chances of not just one child but a number of children waiting together on this 'refuge' being in collision with a vehicle, especially a large lorry, is very high. twasadawf is absolutely right about gaining planning permission on a field. I wanted to apply for permission to build a house on a field and was told that I had to prove I had a thriving business for two years before applying otherwise permission would never be considered and there were no busy roads. Top hat

5:45pm Sat 22 Dec 12

TheVillagePeople says...

Please don't lump all of us Watchfield people in with those characters! We are not all Wind/Solar farm, Gipsy, Noisy village pub and worst of all, new affordable housing hating N.I.M.B.Y.S!!
Watchfield is not Castle Combe or Lacock its a mainly working class/military village so it will always change.
PS, I hate Mcdonalds but I don't complain about it being there. Live and let live.
Please don't lump all of us Watchfield people in with those characters! We are not all Wind/Solar farm, Gipsy, Noisy village pub and worst of all, new affordable housing hating N.I.M.B.Y.S!! Watchfield is not Castle Combe or Lacock its a mainly working class/military village so it will always change. PS, I hate Mcdonalds but I don't complain about it being there. Live and let live. TheVillagePeople

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