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Fears over homes scheme for Redlands Airfield
VILLAGERS in Wanborough are raising fears as the owners of Redlands Farm and Airfield promote it for a housing development – claiming the main road to the village could take traffic from up to 500 homes at the site.
In a bid to close the airfield, which has provoked noise complaints, Coun Dale Heenan,the cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, moved the settlement boundary to include Redlands in Swindon Council’s final version of the Local Plan, which sets out the vision for Swindon until 2026.
His intention was this would allow Redlands owner Joe Smith to hold discussions with developers about selling the land for a small estate which, if approved, would mean the airfield would be closed, without the council having to revoke planning permission and pay compensation.
Coun Heenan repeatedly said he would only countenance 50 to 100 homes there, so fears have been raised about a figure of 500 quoted in a document produced on behalf of the owners by land development consultants, WebbPatton, seeking offers from developers, city institutions and private investors to enter into a development land option or promotional agreement on the 23.5-hectare site.
The document states: “Cole Easdon transport consultants have studied the road network and have confirmed that the [Wanborough] road could handle 500 dwellings at Redlands taking into consideration the other developments proposed around Swindon.”
Coun Gary Sumner, the chairman of Wanborough Parish Council, said a 500-home development would double the size of the village and would be visible from most of the village and the AONB.
He called on Swindon Council to move back the settlement boundary.
He said: “As soon as you include a piece of land in the housing boundary, you open up yourself to applications or the possibility of a larger development than you otherwise wished.
Coun Andrew Bennett (Con, Ridgeway) said the possibility of extra homes impacted on previous work to plan the necessary infrastructure for East Swindon, adding that he, several parish councils and planning officers wanted the decision reversed.
Coun Heenan said he would consider imposing a cap in the Local Plan to limit the homes at the site, He said: “It may be that the road can take 500 but it would be ridiculous to say that number has been talked about. The only discussions are in the 50 to 60 category.”