A BATTLE against plans to turn an old dental surgery into a multiple occupancy house has forced Swindon Council to defer their planning meeting to answer concerns.
The building on Tryon Close in Liden is subject to an application from Platinum Property Partners Swindon, who specialise in providing shared accommodation.
More than 60 residents attended a public meeting on Wednesday to air their grievances, including parking, refuse collection and sewage, to ward councillors.
Janet Jelley, 67, of Tryon Close, organised a petition earlier this month to present to South Swindon MP Robert Buckland.
She said: “People are up in arms about this. Surely with this many people complaining, it is the will of the people. Everyone who lives here is against it.
“The problem is that we do not know what it is going to be used for. They could put it to one use, but after 36 months they could do anything with it.
“My daughter asked about refuse facilities and asked where all the bins would be sited, because we do not want to encourage foxes.
“With the parking at the moment the emergency services would not be able to get through in the case of a fire. We have all had letters from the council about bin vehicles not being able to get through, so they know about the problem.”
Coun Derique Montaut (Lab, Liden, Elden and Park South), attended the meeting.
He said: “An angry audience of more than 60 people articulated their concerns in a very focused manner. Their quality of life was being interrupted as a result of the application.
“They are determined to campaign aggressively against it, so I have called the application in to be discussed at planning committee. I have asked for the meeting to be deferred, because we need to prepare a case to put before council.”
The planning committee decision has now been deferred to October 8.
Residents are worried plans to house nursing staff in the property would impact on the already difficult parking situation.
“The question of nursing staff moving in was something that has been raised by the agent themselves,” said Coun Montaut. “This raises all sorts of issues around parking and erratic shift patterns. It is on a site where access is difficult and one of the most important points is that on certain days there is a higher flow of traffic. The agent has not decided what purpose it is going to be used for, and once they have introduced it they can change it.”
Alan Gaunt, 61, who chaired the meeting, said: “It was one of the biggest public meetings I have ever attended. It is a small close with not a lot of activity, so it is incredible how many people turned out.
“There were some concerns raised about the planning process. I understand the planning authority were responsible for notifying people of changes in the area and that has not happened. The first anybody heard of it was from a report in the Adver, and letters from the council arrived some time after that.
“The South Dorcan development in the 1970s introduced the concept of urban villages, of which Liden was one of the first. The village concept does not include HMOs, because they are not in keeping with the design. It is like they are abandoning the original concept.”