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Revised Wichelstowe scheme put forward
8:50am Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in News
THE 4,500-home Wichel- stowe masterplan has been resubmitted to the council in a bid to save the project £30m.
Revised plans designed to boost the project’s appeal financially and environmentally has been lodged with Swindon Council.
The changes include double the number of new homes being built before infrastructure such as roads and schools have to be built, a re-alignment of the proposed Croft Road/Hay Lane link road and half the number of affordable homes being built.
The plans follows a public consultation in the summer on proposed changes to the original masterplan which was approved in 2005.
Around £30m could be saved from the new plans in the cost of providing future infrastructure compared to the original plan.
Councillor Mike Bawden, cabinet member for strategic projects and transformation, said: “It’s vital for the future of this project that we are able to change elements of the original masterplan.
“The world is a different place financially from when the original planning agreement was drawn up. “If we are to attract the very best partner for this project, it must be as commercially attractive as possible, while at the same time remaining true to the aim of creating a development which is a sustainable and attractive place to live.”
The principal changes are: l A change to the ‘trigger point’ for building infrastructure, from 1,100 completed homes to 2,500.
l An increase in the number of mature trees, hedgerows and landscape features retained on the site l Re-alignment of the proposed Croft Road/Hay Lane link road, intended to give a more efficient road layout and bring greater viability to the development’s district centre.
l A reduction in the minimum number of affordable homes across the rest of the scheme from 30 per cent to 15 per cent. There will be regular reviews to assess the viability of the percentage of affordable housing l A greater emphasis on ‘walkable neighbourhoods’ to ensure that all facilities are easily reached on foot.
The first phase of the Wichelstowe scheme, with over 800 homes in East Wichel, is now underway and is being delivered by Taylor Wimpey. The rest of the land at Middle and West Wichel, about 75 per cent, is owned by the council.
Work on a Waitrose supermarket, which forms part of the planned district centre, is underway.
The council has provided infrastructure such as roads, a canal, and landscaping in advance of houses being built, to make the site more attractive.
Debt created from this work is being met by money paid to the council by the original development partner Taylor Wimpey, on the ending of the development agreement with them in 2009. This money will cover the cost of the debts for a few more years, but after that the council needs to secure income from the new development partner and from house sales.
It is believed the planning application will go before a council committee early next year.
Anyone wishing to comment on the plans must do so before Monday November 18 quoting the reference S/TIME/13/1521 or S/13/1524.
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