Building threat to Purton grassland opposed

Swindon Advertiser: Coun Jacqui Lay at the site where there are plans to build 50 more houses on an important wildlife area, in Mustang Way, Purton Coun Jacqui Lay at the site where there are plans to build 50 more houses on an important wildlife area, in Mustang Way, Purton

THE number of places reserved mainly to allow unique types of grassland to grow is rapidly shrinking – which is why one resident is rallying support to quash a planning application to build houses on a Site of Nature Conservation Interest.

Wain Homes South West was awarded planning permission on appeal in 2009 to build 200 houses at Moredon Bridge, between Mead Way and Thamesdown Drive.

At the time, the planning inspectorate ruled land opposite Bradley’s Meadow should not be built on due to its special wildlife significance.

But Dr Richard Pagett, of Hoggs Lane, Purton, said the developer is now attempting to topple this decision with an application to build 50 homes going before a planning inspectorate in the new year.

Wiltshire Council had originally recommended the scheme for approval providing the company could create an offset, recreating the Calcareous grassland, in another area out of the way of the development.

The developers said they would pay for the project but they wanted Wiltshire Council to set up the scheme which the authority would not agree to.

Wain Homes has now lodged an appeal for non-determination of their application.

“Neither of them wanted to be in charge of the offset because it has still not been proven that it can be achieved,” said Mr Pagett. “These developers have an endless amount of money at their fingertips which the council do not have. The council has to be very careful how they spend the public’s money and who they challenge.”

He said the new homes were not needed as approximately two miles down the road 1,690 houses were set to be built at Tadpole Farm.

“It’s not that I don’t want new houses to be built,” said Mr Pagett.

“Everyone recognises the need for more housing but they should be built in the right place. These reserves were designated by a Government appointed official a long time ago as an area of importance.”

Wiltshire Council councillor Jacqui Lay said it was frustrating the developer had decided to go to appeal.

“It is a shame it all stalled,” said Coun Lay, who represents Purton. “The parish council did not want that site developed at all, it is a loss of green space for Purton. But now it has been I think another 50 homes won’t make too much of a difference.”

She added under the initial 106 agreements the developer was going to pay for a new pedestrian crossing at the site which would help to alleviate traffic problems.

“Going to appeal is expensive and the public will have to pay,” said Coun Lay.

Mr Pagett is calling on residents to write to the inspectorate about their views ahead of an enquiry which will decide the fate of the area.

Anyone wishing to lodge their views should email Jennifer.saunders@pins.gsi.gov.uk or write to Room 3/19A, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN. Use reference number: APP/Y3940/A/13/2206539 concerning Ref 11/02763/FUL.

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