VILLAGERS who feel “under siege” from developers have been urged to stand united in a valiant attempt to protect their local area.
Residents in the rural parish of Blunsdon will meet on Wednesday to discuss ways in which they can prevent any further encroachment into the village by developers.
Concerns have been brewing in the parish for the past few years, due mainly to the successful appeal against the rejection of a planning application which was originally considered harmful to the village.
Ian Jankinson, chairman of the Blunsdon Parish Council, said: “The Village is under siege from developers trying to build in our tranquil rural area.
“The Government requires that every planning authority should have land set aside to provide for a certain number of new houses. Swindon, like many other authorities, cannot provide this.
“What this means is that rules and policies that Swindon Borough Council have set to protect areas like Blunsdon can be overruled.
“If the council rejects a planning proposal and the developer takes it to appeal, they are very likely to have the application granted by the inspector.”
Coun Jankinson’s point is illustrated by the Planning Inspectorate’s recent decision to grant developers permission to build 69 houses in the village, a proposal previously rejected by Swindon Borough Council, and opposed by residents.
In 2014, Linden Homes put in the proposal for the site on land just north of Ermin Street.
There were a number of objections to the plan, mainly regarding its impact on the surrounding area and the claim enough houses have already been built nearby.
But following an appeal, the proposals were last year given the go ahead on the grounds that, according to the Planning Inspectorate, “the adverse impacts of allowing the development do not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits”.
Voicing his objections to the plans in a meeting at STEAM last year, Coun Jankinson said: “There are not the school places or the jobs and we only have the village shop, so the people who move in will have to travel out.
“This would mean around 100 extra cars on the road every day, using the already dreadful junction near the Cold Harbour.”
Another source of concern is the proposal by Hills Homes Developments Ltd to build 54 dwellings with car parking, landscaping and a children’s play area right in the heart of the village.
Hills Homes want to build four single-bedroom houses, 12 two-bedrooms, 21 three-bedrooms, six four-bed houses and 11 two-bedroom bungalows on a plot of land just off the B4019.
One resident, Trevor Morton-Holmes, 69, said: “We are being attacked with developers.
“The field is right behind my house and it is beautiful countryside. The size of the village is increasing as it is and this is going to cause some serious problems.”
In response, a meeting will take place at Blunsdon Village Hall on Wednesday, May 24 from 4pm until 7pm in a bid to tackle the problem.
Coun Jankinson said: “We would like to hear the thoughts and ideas of residents about how we can try to make a stand and change this onslaught.”
There will be a small exhibition of the current position regarding planned development applications and where fears of potential developments might be.
Those who can’t make the event are encourage to email email@example.com and their views will be considered.