ONLY a handful of people have so far commented in a public consultation on Swindon Council’s vision for the development of the borough until 2026 – including where to put 22,000 extra homes.
The local plan 2026 will be the new planning document which will guide the decisions of the planning committee and officers.
It sets out a number of general policies, as well as specific locations for residential and employment uses.
The council launched the statutory nine-week public consultation on its final draft on December 21 but only 32 responses have been received so far.
It received about 1,800 comments and objections in the consultation on the previous draft. The deadline is February 21.
Interest in consultations has proved to be generally low this year, with only 17 responses on the Conservative administration’s draft budget proposals, and 30 responses to plans to create a fully commercial bus network.
Coun Dale Heenan, the cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said: “There are just under two weeks left before the deadline for residents to comment on how Swindon should grow over the next 15 years.
“The local plan is one of the most important documents that the council has agreed with full cross-party support, and sets out where new employment land for jobs will be, where housing will be built and all the necessary roads and infrastructure the town needs, along with new rules on protecting green space.
“After seven weeks of consultation, and public meetings across the town, only 32 comments have been sent in so far. “It is human nature to wait until deadlines approach, but I would encourage as many residents as possible send in their views.
“Every submission will be considered, and already there are good points raised from widening the new green buffers to a new 'Swindon Parkway' railway station.”
The final version allocates about 6,000 homes at the Eastern Villages development to the east of the A419. The plan includes 4,064 homes at Wichelstowe – the same number as before – 3,500 as infill in Swindon’s existing urban area, and 640 for the expansion of South Marston.
There are 1,000 homes allocated in Swindon’s central area – mostly in the Union Square development – 1,500 allocated for Rowborough, a possible development on farmland north of the A420, and about 1,650 on farmland west of the A419 at Kingsdown, a new site in this version of the plan.
There is also allocation for 1,695 homes at Tadpole Farm, 890 at Coate, and 589 in the Northern Development Area, which already have planning permission.
And there is provision for a handful of extra homes as either infill or small extensions at Highworth, Wroughton, and other villages.
Blundson Parish Council is holding a public meeting about the proposed Kingsdown development, at Blunsdon Village Hall, in the High Street, on Wednesday, February 13, at 7pm, with the plan available to view from 6pm.
Residents can email views to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.swindon.gov.uk/ localplan.