OBJECTION 1: The changes made to this revamped application are merely cosmetic; it remains a deeply flawed case for development.
The application fails to address the vast majority of those issues we all objected to the first time around; where it does, the changes are cosmetic and superficial. In some instances it is a more dangerous application than its predecessor. The criteria cited by the applicant have merely been concocted to rule out other sites in Swindon (including Honda) which meet all their stated requirements, bar one: that the land is freehold. This demonstrates their more likely agenda: speculative development.
OBJECTION 2: Contravenes National Planning Guidelines.
It disregards national guidance on protection of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The proposed development is located in the acknowledged setting of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which attracts the highest level of national protection and is enshrined in Swindon Borough Council (SBC)’s Policy EN5. Other applications in Swindon have been refused on this ground alone. A 14m high 33,000sqm warehouse will blatantly contravene this policy.
OBJECTION 3: Contravenes SBC’s own Planning Guidelines & Local Plan to 2036.
Allowing this proposal would break SBC’s promise to the residents of South Swindon.
In return for allowing the development of 7,000 houses on green field land to the north of Swindon, the New Eastern Village (NEV), SBC agreed to establish a ‘non-coalescence’ zone to the South, so the development remained contained to the NEV and specifically would not expand to bridge the gap to the M4. This is enshrined in SBC’s Policy NC3 - and the details of this development in no way merit overriding this policy.
OBJECTION 4: The Development undermines the New Eastern Village (NEV).
The additional traffic, adverse visible impact and shifting of resources will undermine the viability of the NEV.
The warehousing and distribution centre in Phase 1 would attract heavy traffic flows that have not been built into the modelling of the Southern Connector Road (SCR). If allowed to go ahead this additional traffic will cause gridlock around the Commonhead Roundabout and would undermine the successful delivery of the NEV, firstly by diverting utility provision away from the NEV and reducing the desirability of properties in the NEV being accessed via a congested connector road that would also serve this industrial park.
OBJECTION 5: This is not designed for Light Industrial use.
Although Phase 1 is designed for warehousing distribution use (designated B8), the applicant has applied for light industrial use(B1C). In its letter to SBC Planners the applicant challenges them to use enforcement actions if it feels the ultimate occupier - which will not necessarily be Wasdell - fails to use it as designed. The planners should insist that if the design is not changed, it should on these grounds alone be refused.
OBJECTION 6: SBC’s own Local Plan demonstrates no demand for any further industrial space in Swindon.
The SBC L Plan (currently under review) has already made provision for employment land to meet the needs of Swindon up until 2036, utilising brown field sites. The Local Plan has allocated sufficient employment land to meet the needs of this development; 77.5 hectares are available. Huge additional capacity will be released when Honda vacates its site, in addition to suitable land in Wichelstowe; furthermore this green field site did not even make the shortlist for consideration on SBC’s Local Plan under the SHELAA consultation process. With the likelihood of a recession this allocation is more than adequate for the foreseeable future.
OBJECTION 7: This will not create jobs.
It will not bring ‘hundreds of new jobs’ to Swindon. As confirmed in their press release in April, if Wasdell were to occupy this site it will be “to locate all our Swindon business on one site.” If Wasdell were to occupy this site, they would simply close the existing 3 sites in Swindon and relocate their workforce to the new site.
Given that some economy of scale is available, far from creating additional jobs, such a move will presumably lead to a few redundancies around their less than 200 employees - and cause further job losses by decimating the local equestrian and leisure based economy.
OBJECTION 8: This is neither a ‘Science Park’ nor ‘Innovation Centre’.
The supposed ‘Science Park’ and ‘Innovation Centre’ for phase 2 that feature so heavily in thier rationale are undeliverable. Porton Down Science Park, sponsored by Wiltshire Council, has needed £15 million of public money and taken 5 years to establish. Wasdells have made no personal commitments to the Science Park in the application, stating that it would be ‘subject to demand’. The applicant has provided no evidence to substantiate its claim that is can provide a ‘world-leading R&D host hub facility capable of attracting the required talent to sustain a Science Park’. With no plans to market, fund or operate the Science Park, it is likely, as was shown with Badbury Science Park, that no demand will be forthcoming. Therefore this a speculative, unsupported application and should be rejected on those grounds.
OBJECTION 9: It would deprive Swindon of a leisure destination.
This development, which dwarfs Wanborough will spoil the landscape and rural feel of the Ridgeway villages. This application will destroy local jobs. The noise and traffic impact of this development will decimate the local equestrian, leisure and hospitality industry, forcing closures of stable and livery yards. and deprive Swindon of a natural leisure destination.
OBJECTION 10: This will bring with it traffic chaos and extensive pollution to an AONB.
This industrial development would bring a steady stream of traffic in and out of the village, to add to the already busy A419 and J15 M4, affecting the flow of traffic to and from Swindon and the GWH. It will also have huge ramifications for rights of way, footpaths, flooding, noise and light pollution, visual impact, wildlife, biodiversity, canal, ancient heritage as well as the non-viability of utilities for the development.
Hybrid Planning Application For An Industrial Development In Wanborough
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