Area has not been let off the hook

MP Robert Buckland, Andy Drinkwater, Lorraine Williams and David Bernard at an  appeal hearing for the Hook Street development

MP Robert Buckland, Andy Drinkwater, Lorraine Williams and David Bernard at an appeal hearing for the Hook Street development

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @Michael_Benke

THE controversial Hook Street housing development passed its final hurdle when the design of the 73 homes to be built scraped through planning committee.

Permission for the development had already been granted by the planning inspector last year after it had been rejected by the council following strong public opposition This final stage was for Persimmon Homes, the developer, to agree how the homes would look once they had been built, known as Reserved Matters.

Opposition to the plans was put forward by a number of councillors and pressure groups at Tuesday’s meeting, including the Lydiard Fields Action Group and Friends of Lydiard Park, but the proposal just passed with the chairman having the deciding vote following a tie.

Council officers had recommended the Reserved Matters were passed, so that was the decision the chairman went with.

The main objections were that the quality of the houses was not in keeping with the rest of the area and there was a lack of adequate shielding to prevent it being visible from Lydiard Park.

Following the meeting, David Barnard, of the Lydiard Fields Action Group, said: “We are disappointed with the decision.

“We all know that planning permission has been given and the development will go ahead but wanted far more consultation. These houses look very cheap and do not fit in with the rest of the area.

“It was a point raised in the meeting but it seems that Swindon is always accepting poor quality housing when it deserves much better.

“We could have got a much better deal had there been some more consultation.

“When you look at all the developments around Swindon, it just seems everything gets passed which I think people find very worrying.”

Michael Gray, of The Friends of Lydiard Park, was also upset with the decision.

He said: “We have been dumb-founded along with other local groups at the reluctance of the developer to consult on this application.

“This is surprising given the role that the Friends of Lydiard Park have played at the various appeals and enquiries over the last four years.

“It is our hope that over the next few years councillors and planning officers will be diligent in the supervision of the construction of the development in compliance with the approved drawings and planning conditions to mitigate the impact of this most regrettable project.”

No one from Persimmon Homes was available to comment.

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