The South Swindon Protection Group has this week submitted its outline case for the upcoming Inlands Farm appeal to the Planning Inspector. Under ‘Rule 6’ representation the SSPG will be a ‘full participant’ throughout the Appeal, able to cross-examine witnesses as well as present its insights into the case.
The other full participants are the Appellant (Wasdell Group), Swindon Borough Council and Highways England.
To complement rather than to duplicate the very full Swindon Borough Council case, which will be focusing primarily on planning detail, the SSPG has confined its objections to a narrower, broadly economic set of objections:
Compliance with the Use Classes Order: This is a significant consideration; the Wasdell building for Phase 1 should have a planning class use of B8 (Storage & Distribution) rather than B1(c) (Industrial Processes), therefore development should be refused due to proximity to residential property.
Science Park Viability: The creation of a ‘Science Park’ or ‘Innovation Centre’ at this site is highly speculative and does not allow any of the many criteria that typically ensure the viability of such a development to be met, namely:
a university or substantial technology company to act as anchor and innovation partner;
a healthy ecosystem of local research-based organisations;
access to a broad-based and substantial pool of technology and talent;
considerable involvement and investment from local and national government to complement private investment.
If a Science Park development were viable anywhere across Swindon it could conceivably be in the planned redevelopment of the Honda site; only that scale of operation could perhaps render such a concept a reality.
Economic Impact: The economic case for Inlands Farm Phase 1 development is marginal at best, and dependent on substantial and unproven rapid growth of Wasdell to achieve a positive Gross Value Add (GVA) for Swindon. The economic case for Phase 2 is predicated on the success of a new ‘Science Park’ (or ‘Innovation Centre’) that is uunachievable, as explained in Objection 2.
Fundamental Principle of Development: There is no justification for the development of Phase 1 as the Appellant acknowledges that the proposal does not comply with Local Plan policies SD2 and NC3, and is on a greenfield site.The Local Planning Authority has outlined its case and broadly categories all its objections into 12 categories. The SSPG believe the LPA’s case is compelling and would wish to support the LPA in any way. This encompasses a gamut of technical objections including Heritage, Design, Landscape, Use Class, Canal, Water Quality, Infrastructure Delivery, Archelogy, Transport, and Environmental Health
Alternative Sites: The Swindon Local Plan identifies several suitable existing alternative sites (such as the former Honda site, Great Stall West, and the W.H. Smith Greenbridge site) that could accommodate Wasdell’s stated requirements for their own business consolidation and a speculative ‘Science Park’, removing the need for this development.
In addition, allowing the creation of such an additional development site would likely jeopardise the viability of the existing allocated employment land within the Local Plan.
Over the coming weeks the SSPG will seek to gather supporting evidence for the objections above and preparing for the Appeal from expert witnesses.
Should you wish to help in our efforts to defend this case, to finance such expert testimony, please give generously to our donation page to cover the cost of our consultants.
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Action Group opposed to the development of land in the non coalescent area or joining the AONB in the South Swindon Area
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