Swindon Borough Planning Committee Decisively Rejects Application at Inlands Farm
Councillors on the Planning Committee last night voted 10 to 5 in favour of rejecting the application for an industrial development and so-called Science Park at Inlands Farm in Lower Wanborough.
It was a sign of just how important this decision was considered to be that many Councillors contributed to the debate, including the Leader of the Council, with feelings running high on both sides.
John Warr, the Group’s Chair, commented:
“The South Swindon Protection Group, on behalf of hundreds of local residents, are delighted with last night’s result. Despite the strong arguments on both sides of the issues, it is encouraging that Councillors stayed firm to the principle that we have a planning process for good reason and should respect and follow it. It is reassuring that in the face of such strong commercial pressures so many of our elected representatives took the brave decision to endorse the Borough’s Local Plan.”
In a flurry of correspondence to Councillors in the week leading up to the meeting, the applicant made a succession of promises and threats if the vote did not go his way – including moving his operations from Swindon to Basingstoke, and that if he lost he would not appeal the decision to the Secretary of State.
The SSPG will continue to be vigilant on how this matter proceeds, and in the event that the applicant breaks his word and does appeal, will strongly contest any such move.
John Warr observed:
“The SSPG comprises a group of local volunteer residents who have worked tirelessly, over the last 2 years, bound together by a single purpose: to ensure that speculative developments on protected Green Fields will not be tolerated.
We are immensely grateful to the Planning Officers for such a thorough and professional report; Councillors who stood firm; the Parish Councils from the Ridgeway villages for lending their support throughout; our Ward Councillor Gary Sumner who put the case against this development so convincingly, doubtless against huge political pressure; our MP Robert Buckland who laid the early groundwork for the basis for appeal; and the 1250+ residents of Swindon who formally objected to the proposal.
We trust that the applicant will keep his promise and refrain from referring this lost cause to the Secretary of State, incurring a lengthy, expensive and distracting appeal process. We do, however, encourage him to break one promise: we hope that he will see fit to retain his business in Swindon and work with the Borough to find a more suitable site for his operation from the many on offer.”
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