A formal process has been commenced to determine whether breaches of planning requirements have taken place at the Abbey Stadium, the council leader has confirmed.

Leader of the council Councillor Jim Robbins confirmed on Wednesday that a formal process is now underway to look into the planning requirements and uncover whether or not there have been breaches.

He said: "We have instigated a formal process with the landowner and developer to determine whether breaches have taken place. The importance of getting the enforcement process legally correct cannot be overstated.

"Breaches of planning can be a criminal issue and whilst investigations are taking place there is limited information that can be put into the public domain so as not to prejudice the case. 

"I can only stress how complex the planning history is on this site. Some of the development appears to have been implemented under one consent and some under another – and there are several. This complexity has raised several legal technicalities."

As part of permissions for housing developer Taylor Wimpey to build houses on the land by the Blunsdon-based greyhound racing and former speedway racing venue, landowner Gaming International had to build a new stadium. 

But after houses for the Robin Gardens development were built in November after only some of the construction work at the new stadium appeared to have been completed, members of the public raised their concerns that the legal planning requirements were not being upheld. 

Taylor Wimpey initially issued a statement stating that as far as it was concerned all requirements had been met, but this prompted the council to begin a formal investigation and issue a warning to potential homeowners looking at the Robin Gardens site that planning requirements might be enforced. 

Outline permission relating to Taylor Wimpey's site (ref S/12/1826) was approved by Swindon Borough Council on August 8, 2013.

Reserved matters planning consent was granted for 127 homes in August 2021 and a subsequent S96a application was approved on June 23, 2022, which amended the internal details of the house types. 

Taylor Wimpey has said that under the Section 106 agreement attached to the outline consent, an independent contract administrator was appointed to certify the planning obligations and that this administrator confirmed to the council in July 2023 that the obligations had been met. 

"These have been duly certified by an independent contract administrator under the terms of the Section 106 agreement.”

The S106 agreement states that seven schedules must be complied with, the first of which relates to ten milestones that need to have been completed, including stadium buildings, but does not go into specific detail on what constitutes the 'completed' stadium buildings.