Author Topic: Coate development Public Inquiry  (Read 3075 times)

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Offline Jean

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Coate development Public Inquiry
« on: October 10, 2008, 03:42:35 PM »
Many of you who may have submitted objections to the planning applications for 1800 houses, offices, university campus etc at Coate might be confused about what is going on.

Redrow Homes and Persimmon Homes (the Swindon Gateway Partnership) have lodged an appeal with the Secretary of State because SBC has not made a decision about their planning applications (there are two:  one is for just one field of 250 houses, the other for the remaining 1550 houses etc). The appeal relates to the second of the two planning applications.

The Planning Inspectorate will hold a planning inquiry and you have an opportunity to write to them with any new information or whatever (you have to send 3 copies of what you write).  The deadline for comments is 4th November and you don't have to repeat what you said before as SBC will send the Inspector copies of all representations received.

The important matter to get across is that we need the planning inquiry to reassess the allocation of the land in question for development (currently allocated in the Swindon Local Plan and the Wiltshire & Swindon Structure plan).  If you want to write, you can send something similar to the following:

Planning Inspectorate
Room 4/04
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol BS1 6PN

Appeal reference number: APP/U3935/A/08/2085605/NWF

Swindon Gateway Partnership appeal against Swindon Borough Council's failure to determine a planning application related to development at Coate, Swindon.

I am totally opposed to development on land east and south of Coate Water Country Park, Swindon.

The current Swindon Borough Local Plan 2011 policy DS3, relating to the land in question, is an enabling one adopted to facilitate the needs of the University of Bath who wanted to build a campus of no less than 60 hectares at the site. The University of Bath pulled out of the Swindon Gateway Partnership early last year and this action was closely followed by the Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust, leaving only Persimmon Homes and Redrow Homes in the "partnership". This position still holds - no new "partners" have come forward.

You need to be aware that the site in question is extremely sensitive - it is of immense literary and prehistory value as well as of high ecological and visual importance. Currently there are 50,000 signatures on a petition lodged with Swindon Borough Council opposed to the proposed development of the site. Both the Panel who conducted the Examination in Public of the Wiltshire and Swindon Structure Plan 2016 and the Swindon Borough Local Plan 2011 Inspector were swayed to recommend that the site might be developed because of the University of Bath's insistence that no other site at Swindon was acceptable to them. In his report the Local Plan Inspector had this to say in paragraph 9.2 of his report:

9.2 However, it seems clear from the evidence that the university is relying upon the housing and employment development providing the wherewithal for it to be offered the land at no cost to itself. In effect, the UoB is saying that either the whole package be permitted or it will not develop in Swindon. In those terms the Borough finds itself with a gun to its head: if it wants the university it must also permit the housing and employment.

The "gun to its head" has been removed.

My interest in protecting this special area goes back many years. I request that the Secretary of State deals with the appeal by holding a Local Public Inquiry that is as far-reaching as possible in order to explore first principles. I believe that it was inappropriate to identify the area for mixed use development in the development plans and many of the criteria, on which sustainability of the site was based, is unsound.

Please keep me informed of any decision taken.


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Offline komadori

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Re: Coate development Public Inquiry
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2008, 11:53:11 AM »

The important matter to get across is that we need the planning inquiry to reassess the allocation of the land in question for development (currently allocated in the Swindon Local Plan and the Wiltshire & Swindon Structure plan).



I'm not sure that it is. In the context of an appeal against non-determination of a planning application (which this is), whether or not the planning policy is correct is beyond the inquiry's scope, is it not?

If I'm right, then an argument based on the planning policy being wrong gets you nowhere - and possibly gets your objections labelled as vexatious. That is an argument for a different place (the next round of consultation on the council's Core Strategy, for example). For the purposes of getting this application stopped, what's more important is the first part of your objection: that the application is not consistent with the current planning policy

The current Swindon Borough Local Plan 2011 policy DS3, relating to the land in question, is an enabling one adopted to facilitate the needs of the University of Bath who wanted to build a campus of no less than 60 hectares at the site. The University of Bath pulled out of the Swindon Gateway Partnership early last year and this action was closely followed by the Swindon and Marlborough NHS Trust, leaving only Persimmon Homes and Redrow Homes in the "partnership". This position still holds - no new "partners" have come forward.
.

It's also worth mentioning that the Core Strategy prefered option for a university is North Star (on page 24), not the 'Swindon Gateway' area at Commonhead. The planning application is therefore inconsistent with both the current and proposed planning policies.
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Offline Jean

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Re: Coate development Public Inquiry
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2008, 10:23:07 AM »

The important matter to get across is that we need the planning inquiry to reassess the allocation of the land in question for development (currently allocated in the Swindon Local Plan and the Wiltshire & Swindon Structure plan).



I'm not sure that it is. In the context of an appeal against non-determination of a planning application (which this is), whether or not the planning policy is correct is beyond the inquiry's scope, is it not?

If I'm right, then an argument based on the planning policy being wrong gets you nowhere - and possibly gets your objections labelled as vexatious. That is an argument for a different place (the next round of consultation on the council's Core Strategy, for example). For the purposes of getting this application stopped, what's more important is the first part of your objection: that the application is not consistent with the current planning policy

.

You are right Komadori that planning application decisions should be based on current and proposed planning policies rather than on the initial arguments in favour or not of allocating the land for development in the Structure and Local Plans for the area.  However, Swindon Borough Council was so keen to see that area allocated for development that all existig protective landscape policies at the time, were pushed aside.  The land allocations were based on very flimsy evidence that there was sufficient available land to build all that was required by the Swindon Gateway Consortium and even the proposed Core Strategy for the area includes very sensitive land. 

As such, I can't help but advise people to challenge the basic assumption that 1800 houses, a 60ha campus, offices, hospital expansion could all be fitted on the small amount of land that can be developed that is not of high environmental and historic quality.

J
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Offline Jean

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Re: Coate development Public Inquiry
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2008, 08:55:10 AM »
A couple of dates to note:

The pre-inquiry meeting takes place at 11am on 9 December in Committee Room 6, Civic Offices.

The Inquiry will be held at the Marriott Hotel, Pipers Way and starts on 10 February at 10am.  Not sure how long it will run for - will find out more at the pre-inquiry meeting.

The developers have also appealed against non-determination of their other planning application at Coate (for 250 houses on a field owned by the Austin family).  We hope that this will be dealt with at the same time as it is all part of the same development proposal.
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