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Residents discuss Eastern Village plan
MORE than 150 residents packed into a public meeting on Monday to discuss the impact on Wanborough and Bishopstone of potentially building thousands of new homes in the area.
Swindon Council’s final version of the Local Plan 2026, currently out to public consultation, is set to be the planning document for the borough’s future growth, and allocates nearly 10,000 new homes in East Swindon.
The Eastern Villages, on farmland to the east of the A419 and south of the A420, comprises 6,000 homes across a series of villages, plus a district centre, employment and sports and leisure facilities.
However, residents have raised concerns that the development could increase the flood risk and cause traffic problems and they calling on local authorities to ensure funding is secured, studies completed and infrastructure installed before construction starts.
On Monday, residents heard about the plans during a public meeting jointly hosted by Wanborough and Bishopstone parish councils at Wanborough Village Hall.
Coun Gary Sumner, the chairman of Wanborough Parish Council, said: “We have learned from the planning department the houses will be developed initially in the north and don’t need a lot of infrastructure, so you will end up with a lot of houses without the infrastructure. Swindon Borough Council will not be able to borrow substantially to fund infrastructure in the Eastern Villages.”
Jo Bains, of Great Moorleaze Farm, near Commonhead, said she wanted clarity over the location of a proposed link road between the A420 at the Eastern Villages, and either Dorcan Industrial Estate or Commonhead.
She said: “It looks like I’m going to be sandwiched between the A419 and whatever relief road is coming our way towards Commonhead roundabout.”
Coun Dale Heenan, the cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said: “We all only want to see development take place if the infrastructure is there upfront. And one of the policies in the local plan is explicit in saying developers will contribute in a variety of ways to infrastructure.
“It’s not the case we’re looking at a new Wichelstowe or Abbey Meads to the east of the town. It’s a village set-up and it’s following the plans of the flood risks and making sure we don’t build on flood plains.”