THERE is significant opposition to a plan to build a small block of flats in an empty plot of land between two closely-packed terraced streets.

George Coates of Old Charm Properties on Taunton in Devon has put forward a proposal to build a block of six flats on a square of land between Shelley Street and Dryden Street.

The drawings submitted show a two-storey building with three roof gables – and there would be three flats on each floor.

The application follows a previous scheme by the same company to build 10 flats on the site. This was turned down by Swindon Borough Council, and again on appeal by the planning inspector in 2017.

Mr Coates’ new application said at the time the inspector Melissa Hall had said: “There is no dispute between the parties that the principle of residential development is acceptable at this location."

The application adds: “The final form of development will be strongly influenced by the sites surroundings, with the proposed layout of buildings carefully orientated and suitable separation distances maintained between the new and existing properties in order to protect residential amenity.

But if built, the people living in the flats may not be able to have a car – or they’ll have to park one somewhere else.

It continued: “Due to the limited level of access to the site, in terms of vehicular modes of transport, the development is intended to be designed as car-free, which will work well in this highly sustainable location due to its strong links with Swindon’s pedestrian and cycling network and proximity to the town centre, Old Town and other local services and facilities.”

But neighbours are not happy.

While the site can be accessed by an alleyway from Dryden Street the main approach would be from the end of Shelley Street, directly past the front of numbers 28 and 29.

Jane Maskell, who lives in the latter house, told planners: “I object to access over our front land, which we own. This application will only leave the alleyway so is a very big development in a tiny area already built-up area.

Simon Bees, who lives at number 32, objected on the grounds the new building would block sunlight from his house. Other neighbours are concerned about parking, traffic congestion, access and flooding, with a spring running under the site.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland even weighed in, telling planners: “ I have objected to applications here in the past, and I remain strongly opposed to this proposal. This land is totally unsuitable for development and is on a spring.

"It is also private access, none of which the applicant owns.”

The plans are available on the planning portal accessed via and comments should be sent in by Monday, June 8.