The Jubilee Club House was the scene of heated debate over the future development of Lydiard Millicent.
Local resident, Mike Sharp, organised the meeting for Wednesday evening to discuss Star Planning’s latest proposals for land at the end of the Mews, by the Orchards.
Following an initial, low key, drop-in session last month, Star Planning have now submitted a formal application for planning permission to build “up to four dwellings” on the land.
The latest application
The immediate application is for outline planning permission, which would give consent in principle for for up to four houses to be built. You can view these on Wiltshire Council’s website.
Although some layout plans and landscaping particulars accompany the application, these are for illustrative purposes only. Should permission be granted, it would then be down to the developer to specify the type of houses, their design and layout, when they go back to the Council for approval of reserved matters.
Some feel that this makes it difficult to assess how the prospective development would look on the ground, or what its actual impact would be. For example, the reality “on the ground” of four four-bed houses could be very different from a mixed development of bungalows and starter homes. However, the developer considers that the illustrations should give sufficient information to allow the application to be determined. In material terms, they say, it should make little difference in terms of trafiic flow.
During Wednesday’s meeting, however, residents also voiced concern over possible plans to build up to 35 new homes on the land immediately to the south of the application site. They feared such plans would impact negatively on Lydiard’s village feel and encouarge coalesence with Swindon. As access, prospectively, would be off Meadow Springs or Holborn, some residents also feared that wider plans to develop this area could result in increased traffic and the creation of a “rat run” from Swindon.
The land, immediately to the south and south-east of the application site, is believed to be in the same ownership as the application site.
No application has been made in respect of the wider site yet. However, one local drew attention to the site survey and aboricultural report accompanying the application. Both relate to a much larger area than the original application, and the initial ecological appraisal is headed “Lydiard Millicent, North Phase.”
David Barnes of Star Planning said no decision had been made in respect of the larger site, but that all the options were “being looked at, at the moment.”
Objections to the immediate proposals
During the course of the meeting, residents expressed a number of concerns. These included;
- the effect on traffic flow
- parking problems would be made worse
- difficulties with bin storage, refuse collection vehicles, and access by emergency services
- highways safety
- adverse effect on privacy
- the impact on wildlife (a number of residents said they had seen bats in the field)
- not knowing what the design and layout will be
- not wanting to lose the mature trees on the site
- the need to safeguard the countryside
- effect of dust, noise and smell (primarily from the building works themselves)
Residents have until 24 May 2016 to object (or support) the application. Comments can be made in writing to Wiltshire Council, or online through the planning portal.
Mike Sharp, however, said it was important that any comments should relate only to planning matters and to the immediate application. These may incude the following:
- any adverse effect on the residential amenity of neighbours (for example, noise, disturbance, overlooking, loss of privacy, overshadowing, but not fromthe actual works),
- over-development of the site, unacceptably high density,
- visual impact of the development,
- if the proposed development is over-bearing or out-of-scale or character,
- the loss of existing views from neighbouring properties which would adversely affect the residential amenity of neighbouring owners,
- the development would adversely affect highway safety or the convenience of road users.
What about the neighbourhood plan?
During the meeting, a number of residents mentioned the emergent neighbourhood plan.
The draft neighbourhood plan for Lydiard Millicent sets out the type of housing residents would like to see (bungalows, smaller properties) and location. One of its guiding principles is that the community in Lydiard Millicent should retain its own idenity and remain a separate village, avoiding coalescence with Swindon.
Where there is an adopted neighbourhood plan, planners have to take account of it.
Work started on Lydiard Millicent’s neighbourhood plan in 2011. Lydiard’s draft Chapter of the Neighbourhood Plan was finalised in 2014. However, over two years later, the neighbourhood plan is still no closer to adoption. This means it will be unable to influence decisions over developments such as the one proposed at the Mews.