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'No more homes to west of Swindon'
A REVISED plan for housing in Wiltshire has recommended no further development to the west of Swindon.
The Wiltshire Core Strategy, which sets out the number of homes that need to be built across the county by 2026, reduced its proposed housing allowance to the west of the town from 3,000 to just 200.
The announcement will come as a relief to residents in West Swindon, including those in Grange Park, Peatmoor and Sparcells, as planning applications for major developments have loomed large for months.
An application for 800 homes at Ridgeway Farm, north of Peatmoor, is currently before Wiltshire Council while last week a Government-appointed planning inspector shot down a plan for 175 houses at Hook Street, near Lydiard park.
Meanwhile, the 200 outlined in the Wiltshire Strategy are already under construction at Moredon Bridge.
The lengthy document outlines the reasons for curbing development around Swindon – including the town’s own Core Strategy, which is also out for consultation presently.
But it does not appear to rule out Ridgeway Farm as a site for possible housebuilding.
It reads: “Currently there are 200 outstanding commitments at Moredon Bridge which have been taken into account in the identification of Wiltshire’s future housing requirement; no further allowance is made of west of Swindon development.
“The decision made in relation to the current application at Ridgeway Farm, West Swindon, could mean that this increases further.”
Swindon councillor Peter Greenhalgh (Freshbrook and Grange Park, Con) said he welcomed the plans but hoped for a greater commitment to prevent development on Ridgeway Farm.
The cabinet member for planning said: “I’m cautiously optimistic. Obviously I hope that the councillors in Wiltshire who sit on the committee take heed not just of the opposition in West Swindon but of the opposition in their own area and reject Ridgeway Farm out of hand.
“They look like they have taken notice of our Core Strategy but it has not ruled out building at Ridgeway Farm. I would have hoped they’d identified specific sites, as we have done, that were not designated for development.”
The strategy, which is set to go for public consultation, also detail 1,250 new houses in the Wootton Bassett and Cricklade area. Of these only 342 remain to be built or granted, while 283 have already been completed and 625 are planned for sites signed off by the council.
The draft document outlines a total of 37,000 new homes for the county in the next 15 years, which will be needed to match the demand created by an expected 27,000 new jobs during the same period.
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