SAFETY fears over “shoddy” plans could halt hopes for 120 houses, a play park and shop next to farmland along a busy main road near Honda.

Stratton St Margaret Parish Council called detailed proposals for the first phase of the Catsbrain Farm development between Kingsdown Road and Highworth Road among the worst they had ever seen after the outline proposal received approval.

Wiltshire Police ‘Designing Out Crime’ officer Amanda Clarke wrote a letter objecting to the layout because she feared the lack of barriers between the public path and many neighbours’ gardens could lead to antisocial behaviour, burglary or other crime.

Ms Clarke added that some parking areas were not well lit, not easy to observe or too far from people’s homes, and that many alleyways leading to rear gardens had no lockable gates.

The parish council slammed the proposal put together by Persimmon Homes, highlighting issues including a narrow and bendy access route to a 40mph road, poor layout, and a lack of footpaths, parking spaces and nearby public transport, as well as concerns about privacy, safety, noise levels, and drainage.

Coun Matthew Crorkin-Davies suggested it was an early April Fool’s joke.

He said: “I was quite insulted that they think they can palm this rubbish onto us. It’s so poorly thought out and badly designed, it beggars belief.

“It’s appalling. In no right mind can we see that this is anything other than shoddy. It’s surrounded by warehouses, what kind of village is that?”

The Persimmon development will consist of 84 two, three and four-bedroom houses to be sold on the open market and 36 affordable rented homes – six one-bed flats and 30 houses between two and four bedrooms.

Coun Tim Page said: “We’ve reached new depths here. We thought we had reached the ground floor but there’s a basement level below it.

“The access junction on Kingsdown Road is dangerous. I’ve been to the old folks home on that lane and it’s quite tricky to get out, and I suspect it will be even more dangerous for the new road closer to the roundabout.

“They must think Swindon is an easy target. Anyone who voted for this to go ahead would have no care for the environment or their fellow man.

“It’s just a field where they want to put up a load of cheap houses, that doesn’t make it a village. It’s exploitation of the very worst kind.

“Compared to what we expect from housing in Wiltshire, it’s wholly inadequate and not the kind of housing we should be building.”

Coun Andree Murphy said: “What they first told us is different to what has been produced. 

“It’s very rare for the police to say as much as they have about a development like this.”

Coun Barrie Jenkins said: “You could sum it up as a lack of thought, detail and care. It’s a flood waiting to happen.”

The parish council worried that the emergency services or large vehicles that would bring stock for the new convenience store to struggle to access the narrow streets.

Coun Murphy added that a condition attached to the approval of the outline plan which required a new footpath to be added had not been made.

Councillors agreed to ‘call in’ the application to the borough to draw the planning authority’s attention to its flaws.

A spokesman for Persimmon Homes Wessex said: “Following the granting of outline planning permission by Swindon Borough Council in April 2020, Persimmon Homes has submitted a reserved matters application for the first phase of the site. The application follows the principles established in the outline planning consent and proposes a high-quality scheme of 120 new homes.

“A formal consultation period on the planning application has recently closed and we are in the process of reviewing the comments received, including those from Stratton St Margaret Parish Council and local residents. 

“These comments will be considered in liaison with the local planning authority as to whether any further details or modifications to the proposals are required.”