THE deserted park-and-rise at Groundwell could be born again... as a park-and ride.

That is one of the uses suggested for the Cricklade Road site in a council document that is going out for public consultation.

The option was added at the request of the borough council planning committee, alongside the four original likely uses – housing, housing with a care home, commercial and retail including things like a supermarket and nursery school and light industrial units.

Committee member John Ballman said: "The design guide says the park and ride is no longer required. But Cricklade Road will be significantly affected by developments such as the snow centre at North Star.

“There has been no real analysis of the north-south traffic which will be generated by the snow centre development, just east west. Keeping this as a park and ride should be an equal option.”

Councillors agreed to Coun Ballman’s motion to add keeping the site as a park and ride as a fifth option before putting the guide out to public consultation.

That will please some of the Adver’s readers.

When the first four options were published in the Adver last month, Losing It wrote: "Why not open it as a park and ride again? Publicise it properly, with some incentives to use it?

"Use a consultant to sort this out on a fee based on how successful, or not it becomes."

Another reader DA Smith wrote: “There used to be a bus service into the town centre plus the bus lane is still there to help.

“With regards to an incentive how about allowing children to travel free when accompanied by an adult, just like they used to, plus make it cheaper than parking in the town centre. Not that would be hard to do.

“Try and reduce the amount of traffic heading for the Moonrakers roundabout.

"It was only not allowing children to accompany adults free that made it less viable. At the same time it will protect the area of grass in Beechcroft Road.”

Once amended the draft design guide will be made available on the council’s website for a six-week public consultation, starting at a date not yet decided.

'Land use should benefit the local community'

Ward councillor for the site in Penhill and Upper Stratton Oladapo Ibitoye said future use must include bringing work to the area.

He said: ”A future development must offer commensurate benefits to the local community.

"I've spoken with many residents and listened to a range of views. Some have told me that they would be happy with more houses, especially given the close proximity to schools, shops and community facilities.

Others believe that creating more employment is crucial when we consider the loss of jobs from the Honda closure. As we move in to the recovery phase of Covid-19, I'd agree that creating jobs for local people is going to be an essential factor in how Swindon recovers and moves on after the pandemic.

“It is clear to me that we need either local jobs for local people or a mix of well-designed, low carbon housing, or a combination of both, on this brownfield site. Any development, whether housing or employment, will need to ensure it fits positively to the surrounding area.

“I've always said that I will reserve further judgement for any ensuing plan and will seek resident’s specific views as and when an application is submitted.”