AFTER years of discussions and expectation around a new stadium for speedway champions the Swindon Robins, the red tape is up and the plans have been passed.

Swindon Council has said yes to the move for 66 homes to be built at Abbey Stadium, in Lady Lane, which could be the catalyst to kickstart the long-awaited new development to replace the 60-year track at Blunsdon and provide training facilities.

Under proposals, which were first brought in front of the council in 2008, developers had hoped to build 450 houses, a care home and a business area.

But due to the recession, Landvest PCC Ltd and Gaming International Ltd have gone back to the drawing board to find new ways of making the development more viable.

They have been consulting with the public and other authorities about scrapping the business area for an extra 66 houses.

Persimmon Homes Wessex Ltd proposes to build the 66 houses which, along with the other 450 homes, is the key to funding the stadium part of the development.

Despite residents and Wiltshire Police objecting to the extra homes, the council’s planning team approved the proposals under delegated powers.

Bob Walton, Crime Prevention adviser Swindon and North Wiltshire Community Safety wrote to the council to say the extra houses could lead to an increase in car theft and will offer poor parking spaces.

“The high density of the housing has led to what I consider to be poor parking space allocation for vehicles,” said Mr Walton.

“I am concerned this will lead to both increasing numbers of thefts from motor vehicles and potentially also to neighbour disputes over car parking issues.”

He added there was no provision for disabled drivers and the design does not leave room for much on-street parking.

Thames Water said there was insufficient water infrastructure to cater for the extra housing and essential infrastructure upgrades to deal with sewage and flooding were taking place in March. It asked for the scheme to be delayed until it had time to carry out the associated works.

Councillor Dale Heenan, cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability said: “Since the outline planning permission was granted in 2008, the developer has said that economic conditions had changed and that the commercial uses agreed are no longer viable.

“The first detailed plans have been approved by Swindon Council with the stadium unchanged but its redevelopment assured, and now with more car parking spaces available.

“The council is still imposing a delay that no house can be occupied until Thames Water have completed their improvements to water and drainage infrastructure in 2014.”

Steve Roche, managing director of Persimmon Homes Wessex, said: “We are pleased.

“This means there is approval of reserved matters for 66 dwellings pursuant to the outline planning permission previously granted for demolition of the existing Abbey Stadium and construction of a new stadium with youth training facilities, business floorspace and 450 dwellings.

“This is the first phase in the implementation of that project.”