Town Planning, Housing Developments, Transport & Education > Shaw Community Forest

Swindon Council 'Sock Puppet' Company Wants Shaw Community Forest For Solar Farm

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Geoff Reid:

Swindons Deputy Mayor, (soon to be Mayor, Cllr Nick Martin (Shaw Ward), previously an apparently staunch defender of public open space in West Swindon has publicly U-Turned and is now leading the charge to fence off a large part of Shaw Community Forest and turn it into a Solar Energy Plant.


Cllr Nick 'Busy Hands' Martin told the Adver:

--- Quote from: Cllr Nick Martin ---" “We have restored Shaw Forest in a fantastic way, which has a large green space in the middle and thousands of trees around the outside, and a lot of wildlife. “In this case we are seeing an opportunity where we can generate cheap electricity. There is an opportunity to connect to the main grid.

“Swindon Commercial Services came forward with the idea of putting solar panels on.”
--- End quote ---

Swindon Commercial Services are, according to Eric Pickles MP (Secretary Of State For Communities & Local Government), a 'sock puppet' company. Swindon Commercial Services are wholly owned by Swindon Borough Council and Swindon Borough Council is currently controlled by Conservative Councillors. 

I believe it is fair to say that the decision to proceed with this plan is fully supported by the Conservative administration and, when considered in context alongside their plan to build a school on a large part of Mouldon Hill Country Park, (Mouldon Hill is several hundred yards to the North East of Shaw Community Forest),  Cllr Martins U-Turn on West Swindon's open spaces represents an unedifying event for residents already already worried that the Moredon Bridge, Tadpole Farm, Ridgeway and Pry Farm developments will turn the existing semi-rural Western edge of Swindon into a high density, grid-locked, urbanised f*cking mess.

A four hour drop in session will take place between from 10am-2pm on February 2nd at The Peatmoor Community Primary School for residents to peruse the proposal, which will take about 25 acres of the Community Forest out of public use.

In case it's not readily apparent, I am very disappointed with Nick.

Seeing as how most of that park is built on top of a tip and several barriers and layers of clay and top soil on top of that, the forethought of running pipes through that never occured to them.

I've said before that the park was created with lots of consultation with town-wide groups and local people.  As far as I remember the outcome plan was very much of their wishes.

I don't know how I feel about putting  solar panels on it.

How will the panels be protected?  (Unsightly fencing?)

How much land will be taken from public use?

Can wildlife make decent use of what's left! i.e. under and around the panels? 

Will it bring in an income to help maintain the rest of the park and maybe other green spaces too? 

How much damage by it's installation to what's already been done?

A park is a park.

A solar farm is a development.

A solar farm within a park is development of open and public green space.

SCS are a bit like international aid... lots of money goes in ... but the money could have been put to better use with more effective endeavours elsewhere.

Consultation... so how many taxpayers will need to 'approve' this for the Administration and Officers say that it is OK? It took 17 for the Croft ,  maybe the same for Mouldon Hill?

Nothing is safe from the rapacious tentacles of this administration and the officers who support them. They have single handedly created an environment where anything they state should be read with distrust .


Bobby Bingo:
The Master Plan for Shaw Tip was drafted in August 1994 and yes Muggins you are quite right the tip was capped to a minimum of 8 feet with spoil from the Northern Development. The developers were charged per cubic metre, delivered, and they avoided the land fill tax. We not only had the tip capped but also made £730,000 on the deal.
Nick, as usual, fugal with the truth, claims he was involved in the 80's. The idea was not even thought of then! As a matter of interest I still have a copy of the Master Plan and the plateau that Nick refers to was to be an entertainment area and viewing platform. For instance you could see the big church in Cricklade on a fine day and many other items of interest. The year that David Glaholm was the Mayor, to celebrate the Chinese New Year over 2000 whips, small trees, were planted.

"The year that David Glaholm was the Mayor, to celebrate the Chinese New Year over 2000 whips, small trees, were planted."

I know, I was there! (It was a bit muddy and damp that day) and at most if not all the planning meetings. And I too, somewhere, have the paperwork, or at least some of it.  I could not remember the planned use for the top of Phase Three, indeed even if there was a firm one, but now you say, I remember.

The people of West Swindon have fought for this site before and hopefully they will do again. Although I don't live there, I also demonstrated with them, and will do so again if necessary. 

But what I want for that Park is not so important as what they want so I expect them to be asked.

PS and I remember David being Mayor!  Blimey, I was at his Mayor making!


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