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Villagers vow to oppose 'science park' development near Wanborough

Coverage of Launch Event by the Swindon Advertiser

  • 20 November 2018
  • Author: John Warr
  • Number of views: 2039

It was standing room only at Wanborough Village Hall as more than 100 residents packed the room to hear about what could be a major new industrial development.

They were there at the launch of a new pressure group, the South Swindon Protection group, which has been set up to oppose any development between the village and Inlands Farm near the A419 - but specifically the possibility of a "Science Park" to be constructed on the land by pharmaceutical distribution company Wasdell Group.

John Warr, a Wanborough residents, led the meeting.

He said: "Wasdell is looking to relocate from its current premises in Swindon and it wants to expand - it has won some new contracts."

He explained the company had held an event at The Holiday Inn showing its proposals - one 350,000 square foot unit for pharmaceutical packaging, with the possibility of two further units - the "science park" to be built later if there is "sufficient demand."

Mr Warr said: "The size in square feet doesn't mean much to me - so I asked whether it's bigger than the woods by Hooper's Field. It's bigger than that."

Mr Warr drew gasps from the audience when he superimposed an artist's impression of how big the development could be over a map of Wanborough: "It's bigger than our village," he said.

He then showed the map in darkness, with the site, which could be in operation 24 hours a day, lit up, and with beeping noises similar to those made by reversing lorries: "The site is to the south west of the village- the noise will come our way, and we will lose darkness."

Another member of the new group Martin Savage outlined reasons that any planning application, which has not yet been made, could be rejected.

He said: "This land has already been rejected by Swindon Borough Councilas being not suitable for inclusion in the Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment.

"It's right in the middle of the non-coalescence, zone, which was specifically set up to protect Wanborough, Bishopstone and Bourton from just being absorbed into urban Swindon.

"The development butts right up to the North Wiltshire Downs AONB, and if built, it would mean the AONB would have much less protection from other developments."

Villagers were asked to each write to the council with objections if the company brings a planning application, which the campaigners expect soon.

The local borough councillor Coun Gary Sumner told the meeting: "If this application was for houses, it might be harder to oppose, because the presumption is in favour of sustainable housing development. That's not the case with employment use."

Nobody from Wasdell Group, based in Blagrove in Swindon with branches in Ireland and northern England, was available to comment on the matter.

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