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Abbey Stadium plans go on show to public
THE first phase of a development plan to kick-start the rebuilding of the Abbey Stadium were presented to the public during an exhibition.
Developer Persimmon Homes Wessex held the exhibition at the stadium in Blunsdon to give residents the chance to discuss a draft proposal for 184 homes in fields north of Salzgitter Drive, which is key to generating the funding for the stadium phase of the multi-million pound project.
The outline application setting out the principles of the whole development was approved by Swindon Council in September 2008.
It will eventually see the demolition of the 60-year-old stadium, as well as the adjacent Blunsdon Market, and the construction of a new stadium with a speedway and greyhound track, youth training facilities and a new market.
There will also be 450 new homes, office space and a new care home.
The associated section 106 agreement allows for up to 200 homes to be built and occupied before a contract for the new stadium can start. The stadium plans are subject to future consultation.
Glenn Godwin, planning director at Pegasus Planning Group, the consultant for Persimmon, said the planning application for the first phase would hopefully be submitted in April, and if approved, construction would start later this year, with the stadium and care home next on the list.
He said: “The whole basis of the planning application is we can build up to 200 private houses as a first phase without any constraints, which would enable the land to be sold to the developer, which will then fund the stadium project. So it’s essential to get the housing moving. There won’t be the funds for the stadium without the housing going forward first.”
The phase would be a mixture of two-storey houses – 20 per cent two-bedroom, 30 per cent three-bedroom and 50 per cent four-bedroom homes. Access would be off the three existing roundabouts on Salzgitter Drive.
There would be no on-site community facilities – the local centre would be at St Andrew’s Ridge – but the developer would have to make contributions towards wider infrastructure, such as schools and highways.
Les Edwards, of St Andrew’s Ridge, said he was pleased the planned industrial units in the overall plan had been moved from nearer the existing housing to where the new stadium would be, as this was better for access for lorries.
He added: “They all say this stadium needs redeveloping, they have said that for a long time. You’ve only got to look at the buildings.”
But Mary Lewis, who has lived in Blunsdon for 70 years, said the plans were an overdevelopment of the area. She said: “I don’t see the need for more homes. “What are they going to do for schools – the school at Blunsdon is packed? What are they going to do with the roads? Every house has two cars. Where are you going to put them?”