A NEW woodland, children’s play area, a community garden and orchard all feature in plans for the heritage garden Honda hopes to build on its former site in South Marston.

The Japanese car company has closed its factory after four decades in the town and its machinery is being dismantled.

But it wants to create the garden on an otherwise scrubby piece of the former airfield on the edge of Highworth Road in South Marston, just north of the allotments.

According to plans submitted to Swindon Borough Council the garden will be divided in to different areas – an open green and pavilion, woodlands, a wildflower meadow, a children’s playground, the existing pond will be retained and cleared, and a community garden and orchard of cherry trees will be planted.

The application says: “This is a unique opportunity to provide a new green space for the local community that will leave a lasting legacy for Honda.

"The garden can become a place the community can come together to learn, play, and grow. 

"By building on the sites existing assets, particularly the already well-loved allotments, the Honda Heritage Garden will be shaped by and created for the community.”

The playground is at the heart of the plans and will feature a play train, rope swings, springy cars, concrete stepping stones, a play boat and a play aeroplane.

The community garden will be a place where neighbours can grow flowers or vegetables and the orchard will feature cherry trees to mark Honda’s Japanese heritage and to produce a beautiful display of blossom in the spring.

The green, with its pavilion, is designed to let children run and play while their parents sit and chat and can keep an eye on them – the shelter will be designed in the shape of a tree trunk with a sprouting canopy.

All trees planted on the Honda site as memorials to staff who have died will be moved to the garden when new owner Panattoni begins redevelopment.

Access will be a walking path from the allotments’ car park on Highworth Road, which will be improved to allow more to park.

Some neighbours are concerned about the security of their houses. 

For 40 years the Honda site was private land behind a barbed wire-topped fence. Some people living nearby are concerned about the impact on them if the public will have access to parts of the site next to their homes.

One, Carlea Mathews, asked the planning department: “What security/privacy measures will be put around the site? 

"Will the site be fenced on the side closest to us? Are you able to put a living fence around the site, in keeping with your green and nature-driven theme? If so how high will this be?”