This page contains all archived news other than the Taylor Wimpey development at Ridgeway Farm proposed development at Lydiard Park, the Thamesdown Drive extension and the Aldi and Bellway Homes developments at the Westlea Campus
BT plan to remove 44 payphones across Swindon
25 October 2016
M4 Junction 16 Improvement Works
16 October 2016
Work to transform Junction 16 of the M4 will start in winter 2016 to ensure the major highway interchange can cope with forecast future traffic levels and cater for future development in the surrounding areas. Click here for more information.
SRA comments on stage 2 of the governance review
28 July 2016
In view of the small number of people who’ve responded to the consultation and the fact that there is no evidence of a community request from non parished areas, we believe that to proceed would be undemocratic. The SRA therefore maintains its position that Swindon Borough Council does not have a mandate to continue. However, should SBC choose to ignore this opinion, we believe it would make sense to start with one big parish and then, if there’s a popular appetite, divide it up over the coming years. Such a scenario would also preserve at least some of the economies of scale currently enjoyed by the Borough. It would also minimise the additional administrative burden the creation of several new parishes would place on the tax payer.
Specifically, given that there is no petition or demonstrable public request for a West Swindon parish, we suggest it is more democratic to include West Swindon in the aforementioned central parish until such point in time that a public petition exists requesting it to become separate.
West Swindon Open Gardens
23 June 2016
Many thanks to all of you that supported this event. We raised £1680 for SMASH and CALM – click here for more
SRA supports proposed dog control order for Lydiard Park
13 May 2016
Swindon Borough Council is proposing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) at Lydiard Park in Swindon regarding dog control at the park. The SRA is supportive of this proposal as it appears to balance well the needs of all users.
The main part of the order focuses on keeping dogs on leads at peak times of the year in the busiest area of the Park. Dogs will continue to be allowed off lead in the majority of the Park.
The proposed area affected includes the main lawn, sports field, BBQ/Picnic field, car parks and outside the visitors centre and café. This area comprises approximately 26% of the Park. The order would only apply between 1st April to the 30th September inclusive and between the times of 10:00 to 18:00.
The second part excludes dogs from the small fully enclosed Walled Garden and area known as the Rick Yard. Dogs have never been allowed in these areas due to the heritage plant collection.
No part of this order applies to registered assistance dogs.
Green Belt under siege – CPRE report
8 May 2016
The Campaign to Protect Rural England says “Last year’s report showed that 220,000 houses were planned for the Green Belt across England. This new report shows that this number has now reached 275,000. Government claims that it is committed to protecting the Green Belt are not being backed up in practice, and our report sends a clear message that greater protection for the Green Belt is needed”
SRA Response to the parish (governance) consultation
20 March 2016
The Shaw Residents’ Association response to the consultation on the future of parish councils in the Borough of Swindon raises more questions than it does views and opinions.
We are struggling to provide concise feedback simply because the ‘consultation’ is taking place without a focussed set of questions for non-parished areas. Clearly parishes could bring both positives and negatives to communities, but since no scope has been provided to the consultation, we are not in a position to make an informed judgement within our feedback. For example, we have not been provided with a list of services a parished Shaw ward would own; indeed we do not know where the boundaries would be drawn. Clearly there is no such thing as a free lunch and yet there are no details in the consultation on estimated precepts or indeed the costs associated with the additional administration a parish would require. Are we to assume that SBC, like many other councils, have the prime intent of using the unrestricted parish precept loophole to expand their funding indirectly? Could services owned by a parish be more or less efficient (in terms of cost) than when owned by the Borough? Given that for most industries economies of scale bring greater cost efficiencies and not the other way around, it seems clear to us that if a parish can indeed bring down the cost of such services, then those services must be suffering from massive inefficiencies in the way they are managed today.
The consultation also appears to have focused on one part of a much bigger picture. It fails to provide any insight into where a 100% parished Borough of Swindon will lead for its residents. It is clear to us that ‘localism’ is not what is driving the agenda, but rather it is an excuse for the agenda. We need to know what is the end goal and motivation for the initiative. Is it simply just to raise more taxes, is it to shut down SBC and merge it with Wiltshire County Council or is there some other end goal in mind? To ask a population to give feedback on one small part of a bigger project plan for a potentially much bigger long term goal is just not acceptable. We have the opinion that SBC is following a process of change by stealth rather than change by consensus.
As noted at the start of our comments, we have more questions than we do opinions. For example:
- We believe that the level of understanding and engagement within the community in political initiatives is generally low and so therefore the understanding and interest of what a ‘parish council’ is will be very poor. As a case in point, the Stratton St Margaret (which is a parish) referendum had only 7.8% turnout. To make such a huge change in the governance of Swindon based on the ‘silence equals approval’ concept is simply unacceptable
- There are already too many unknowns to enable a proper consultation, for example: What will be the responsibilities of the parish? How many parish councillors will be needed? Will there be a significant reduction in borough councillors as a result? How much will the precept be and will council tax reduce the same amount? Will parish council precepts be capped in the same way as council tax?
- We do not know exactly what the likely boundaries between parish councils will be. If the Parish precept is calculated on property bands, there are bound to be ‘have’ and ‘have not’ Parishes. Would parish councils reflect existing communities? Would Parish boundaries cross Ward boundaries? It is much harder to define communities in large urban areas such as Swindon and therefore how can parishes work in such an environment? Isn’t it the Boundary Commission that defines boundaries anyway?
- What is the question in the consultation for non-parished wards? It cannot be demonstrated that there is a clear pull from the constituents unless the flawed approach of silence means approval is taken. The massive no vote in Stratton to expansion of the parishes role is a clear indication of those residents’ views of parish council expansion
- Will there be enough volunteers to become parish councillors or will borough councillors have to wear two hats? Where there are volunteers, will they likely pull from one set of demographics – e.g. retired middle class – therefore how can they be representative of the parish?
- We believe it will add administrative cost when we should be working smarter. Economies scale with size – for example, it cannot be smarter to pay one person to cut one side of a playing field and another the other side, if that is where the boundaries fall
- The role of residents associations, such as the SRA, would become questionable. Why would we need Borough councillors, parish councillors (who are volunteers) and residents associations (who are volunteers) all representing the same people? We fear parishes will switch many volunteer hours away from community activities onto administrative overheads
- If all of Swindon is parished it seems logical that the statutory part that is left would be under immense pressure to merge with Wiltshire. If that is indeed the intended or unintended consequence of the venture, then Swindon’s residents must be given a much clearer choice
Messages from virgin media email are SPAM
6 January 2016
If you receive any emails from firstname.lastname@example.org report them as spam. Our email address is email@example.com
Old Virgin Media email account compromised
5 December 2015 – A message from Kevin Fisher
The old Virgin Media email account used by the SRA was deleted some months ago in favour of the new outlook account to be found on this website. Unfortunately it would seem Virgin Media did not actually delete the account when I closed it down and it has now been compromised and spam emails are being sent from it. Please list all emails from firstname.lastname@example.org as spam and DO NOT open them. The problem can only be fixed by Virgin Media as the account simply does not exist to me anymore. I cannot access it to change / delete anything.
I have spent a few hours on the phone to various people in Virgin Media and cannot get past the “it will take 5-7 business days for our IT department to do anything about it” statement (they also pointed out that “IT do not work at weekends and I have reported the problem on a Saturday”).
I have told them that they appear to be in violation of the Data Protection Act, since deleting an account should result in the deletion of personal information and the account actually being deleted. That accusation seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Please accept my apologies should you receive any spam from the deleted Virgin Media email account. I am afraid all I can do is shout at Virgin Media, threaten to report them to the Data Commissioner for DP violations and seek negative press reports. Any questions, please email me at email@example.com
Lydiard House and park at risk
28 November 2015
Lydiard House and Park is a unique and hugely valued heritage asset used by thousands of Swindon people and visitors to the town. Swindon Borough Council is proposing to hand over the day to day management and control of Lydiard House and Park to an external commercial organisation which will seek to take profit from the site.
Swindon Borough Council say they are doing this to eliminate Lydiard’s annual running cost. The Friends of Lydiard Park believe this can be done without handing over the town’s ‘crown jewels’.
Taylor Wimpey also wish to build on fields adjacent to Lydiard Park. Click here for more information.
Work to start on Swinley Drive Pedestrian Crossing
30 October 2015
Roadwork signs have been put up saying work will start on the 2 November for 10 days. It was the 6 November 2013 that we published, on this site, a link to a petition in support of the crossing.
Should Swindon be 100% parish councils?
20 October 2015
That is the proposal by the leader of the council David Renard – but what are the pros and cons. Click here for a Swindon Link article for more information about a public meeting.
Swinley Drive Pedestrian Crossing Update
5 August 2015
The work has been put out to tender and responses are due by the end of August. Work will start during October or November.
West Swindon Skate Park Open
24 July 2015
Having opened on the 13 July, a ‘skatejam’ has been organised by the park builders (Wheelscape) for 23 August from 12 to 3pm.
Swinley Drive Crossing Update
18 May 2015
The scheme is now with SBC’s Project Delivery Team and they are making the necessary preparations in respect of arranging the works. However, whilst there are no firm dates yet for the crossing itself, works are taking place in preparation for installing the school safety zone (flashing warning signs) which will be completed prior to the crossing installation.
SBC Local Plan Adopted
31 March 2015
The local plan is the planning policy document for SBC to take us up to 2026. Click here for more information.
Swinley Drive pedestrian crossing update
29 January 2015
It is now over one year since it was agreed to fund this crossing at the West Swindon Forum. This action was taken based on a petition completed in November 2013. The SRA can report that the project is at the detailed design stage which should be completed by the middle of February. Once done the work will be commissioned to third parties to complete the installation. Given that Southern Electric require eight weeks lead time to complete the work and white lining is weather dependent, we believe the crossing will be in by the summer at the latest, with a hope it may be completed in the spring. Click here for the plans.
Shaw Village Centre to get a small make-over
15 January 2015
Following many discussions with SBC officers and our own efforts in trying to maintain the Village Centre, we are pleased to announce the following program of work for 2015:
- Parking space relining will take place in the spring. Posters and information will be displayed nearer the time
- Blossoming trees called Amelanchier Lamar will replace the missing trees at the front two beds by Tesco and the back two beds by the Village inn
- More reeds will be planted to make the beds symmetrical
- The vandalised railings will be repaired
- The block paving around the trees and the circular seating will be repaired
- The circular seating will be repaired and painted
- The tree guards will be removed from around the trees by the church
The problem of the drainage from the pavilion housing the clock is being researched to see if the water from the roof can be re-routed in an affordable way. However, this is likely to fall into next years budget.We will continue in our efforts to maintain and improve the landscaping throughout this year. Dates will be posted on this web site soon. Please come along and help.
Local Plan Modifications Consultation
23 September 2014
Following a detailed review of Swindon’s local plan 2026 the Inspector has issued a report requiring some very detailed modifications. The good news is he is not requiring any additional houses to be added to the plan. Click here for a Swindon Advertiser report on the subject.
A letter from Phil Smith of SBC’s planning policy department can be downloaded by clicking here. It contains details on how to send comments which must be with him by 30th October 2014.
Swinley Drive Pedestrian Crossing Consultation
16 September 2014
A location closest to Peatmoor shops has been identified as the point with the highest footfall and highways officers are reviewing the options. Further consultation will now take place as follows:
- Tuesday 21st October, Woodlands Edge pub 5:30pm to 7:00pm – an opportunity for residents to discuss the options with our ward councillors.
- Monday 10th November, West Swindon Forum at the Link Library 7:00pm to 9:00pm.The Shaw Residents Association has for some time been asking for a pedestrian crossing on Swinley Drive. The design of the road, with its long sweeping double bend close to the point where children cross to get to school, makes crossing problematic. In 2012 a parent wrote to us describing the rules of crossing Swinley Drive during peak time were more akin to “listen, wait, wait, wait, guess, hope and run”. We welcome this initiative and hope the crossing will be built without any further delay. Of course Ridgeway Farm will significantly increase traffic on this road and we look forward to further consultations with our councillors on how the section 106 money allocated to this road will be spent.
Open Gardens – An Outstanding Year!
18 June 2014
From a participation and money raised point of view – an outstanding year! From a community participation and fun weekend for many point of view – an even more outstanding year. The total raised was £2213 with 322 adults and many children visiting fifteen open gardens across Shaw and Nine Elms. That is a 46% increase on the previous years record of 221 visitors and a 22% increase in money raised for two local charities – many thanks to those of you that helped make it happen!
Quote from Rob Chappell – SMASH MD: “please be assured that we are incredibly grateful for your donation and for all the work that you put in on our behalf. We really do depend on funds and other support from the local community. Over the next year we hope to raise in excess of £200,000 from grants, donations and our own fund-raising efforts so you see we have a mountain to climb and it is not a journey we can make without support like yours. SMASH gives young people the chance to become everything they can be, sometimes when no one else believes that they can and by contributing to our charity you and everyone who came along to the open gardens weekend are now a part of all of their stories so on their behalf in particular, thank you”.
50 More Houses at Moredon Bridge Approved
10 May 2014
Despite the original Inquiry categorically stating that the plot of land must not be built on for environmental reasons, the developer applied to build on it anyway. The request went to appeal and, of course, the unelected planning Inspector approved the application highlighting that the environmentally sensitive land only represents 0.0047% of similar land within Wiltshire. If ever there was a decision that highlights the destruction of our natural environment by stealth, this is it. Oh, but the developer must make an environmental offset – in a school in Bradford on Avon – the logic is baffling to say the least. Of course the real day to day impact for West and North Swindon residents will be in yet more traffic negotiating the tricky junction in and out of this new, unplanned development.
Wiltshire Launch Core Strategy Consultation
20 April 2014
In December 2013 the council received the 10th procedural letter from the Inspector, which sought the views of the council on a number of matters. The council’s response has resulted in further ‘main’ and ‘minor’ proposed changes to the Wiltshire Core Strategy. The council has also proposed changes to the Wiltshire Core Strategy as a result of the responses received during the consultation that closed in October 2013. A further round of consultation will take place for six weeks from 9am Monday 14 April to 5pm Tuesday 27 May 2014 inclusive to give all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the following proposed modifications (changes) before the Inspector completes his report.
Click here to visit the web page of proposed modifications
Library Strategy Consultation – SRA Comments
14 April 2014
Please visit our ‘issues and positions’ page to view our comments.
Skate Park to be Built at Rivermead
11 March 2014
Councillors at the 10 March West Swindon Forum agreed to proceed with construction at Rivermead which should start in June of this year.
18 February 2014
Swindon Borough Council is consulting on its draft library strategy and is keen to hear all views. The draft library strategy can be read at: www.swindon.gov.uk/librarystrategy. Your views can be sent to Councillor Keith Williams, Library Strategy Consultation, Cabinet Office, Civic Offices, Euclid Street, SN1 2JH. The consultation will run until 5pm on Monday, 14 April 2014 and it is planned to present the outcome to the Council’s Cabinet in June, 2014. We plan to provide an SRA position on this subject, so if you wish to have an input into our contribution, please send us an email.
SBC Local Plan Pre-hearing
18 February 2014
A Pre Hearing Meeting is to be held on Tuesday 11th March 2014 at 10.00am within STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon. The meeting will be entirely procedural in nature. There will be no discussion on the merits of the Plan or representations – these will be matters for the Hearing Sessions. A member of the SRA will be attending the meeting.
14 February 2014
The following text was sent by the SRA in response to SBC’s consultation on libraries:
Shaw Residents Association (SRA) has focussed its attention to commenting on the provision of library services through the Central Library, West Swindon Library and North Swindon Library at Orbital which is used by some of our residents.
We have little direct contact with mobile library services and the services for home-bound/elderly – but we regard these as important services for society to provide through SBC.
We understand the issue about the range of smaller east Swindon libraries but do not feel that we should comment specifically about these – only about the general provision and our local provision.
- SRA supports the provision of a strong and good library service – for leisure and broader educational reasons. We believe it is important that such a service is provided and that it is easy and convenient to access.
- SRA supports the broader range of services such as library-based book groups and ebook loans – and these should be continued and extended
- SRA supports the provision of the computer access and computer access education
- We note that access/staffing has been reduced in recent years and we do not support this – access to information should not only be ‘use the internet’
- SRA is concerned that with possible changes to the management of the Link Centre that the provision of the West Swindon Library will be impacted – this would be a real issue – the positioning of the library in the Leisure Centre is regarded as a good thing.
- The use of volunteers can help supplement core services but we are concerned that Swindon BC is moving library services to a ‘charity role’ – we believe that it should be a core service funded by the Council.
Moredon Bridge 50 Houses
17 January 2014
The developer has taken a two pronged approach to this application: Firstly they have launched an appeal on the grounds of non-determination of their original application. This appeal will be heard as a Public Inquiry on the 12 March in Chippenham and last about three days. Click here for more details. Secondly they put in a new identical application to Wiltshire Council. On the 8 January, the WCC planning committee rejected this application. Go to our Issues and Positions page for more on this subject.
7000 More Houses for Wiltshire
7 December 2013
On review of Wiltshire’s local plan for 37000 new houses, the unelected planning Inspector has told the council it is 7000 houses short – that is an almost 20% shortfall. The implications for West and North Swindon from this announcement could be huge. Pry farm, north of Ridgeway Farm (click here for a map) was allocated to be built on in the draft regional special strategy under Labour; it is not included in the new WCC local plan. However, with the Inspector demanding such a huge increase in housing allocation, could it be back on the plans? See BBC for story and click here for the Inspectors report. Related to this process, Purton have issued their parish plan – note Moredon Bridge and Ridgeway farm fall into the parish of Purton.
Moredon Bridge: Application for 50 More Houses Appeal
6 December 2013
SRA Response: The appeal is likely to be heard on March 2014 – click here for the SRA objection letter.
A notice of appeal has been issued with a deadline of 2 January 2014 for comments to the Inspectorate. When the original 200 houses were won by the developer on appeal in 2009, the decision stated “details of a management plan to secure the protection and enhancement of the Bradley’s Meadow” shall be submitted – a clear statement that this nature conservation area should not be developed. However, Wainhomes subsequently decided to apply to build on the land and submitted an application for 50 more houses. Rather than rejecting the application, Wiltshire council chose to approve it on 24th April 2013, but through S106 contributions they required the developer to recreate the ecological site at a new location before destroying it. It would seem the developer does not want to be dealing with the recreation of the new ecological site and has issued a report explaining how they can be discharged of the obligation not to build on Bradley Meadow. As a result s106 negotiations have stalled and Wainhomes have issued an appeal on the grounds of ‘non determination’ thereby adding additional cost to the taxpayer by ask the planning Inspectorate to make the decision through yet another public Inquiry. At the same time, the developer has issued another duplicate application for the same 50 homes. For more details, click here for the Wiltshire Planning Web site documents or read the Link magazine article.
Bradon Forest School – Should it be Included in Swindon’s Catchment?
3 December 2013
Swindon is running out of secondary school places and so SBC have initiated a consultation. One option is to bring Braden Forest school back into Swindon’s catchment area. Whilst there are positives with this idea, the negatives mean even more buses ferrying children to Purton every day. If you have an opinion, click here and complete the SBC consultation.
Widham Farm Purton – Proposed Housing Development Dismissed at Appeal
3 December 2013
It seems not all planning Inquiries result in a decision supporting the developer’s case. Widham Farm is on the edge of Purton and an application to build on it by a developer has been dismissed by the planning Inspector. Click here to read more.
Location of Skate Park in West Swindon
30 November 2013
Three options have been provided by SBC: Rivermead (near the Renault building), on top of Shaw Ridge and Salt Way School (though moved slightly from the original proposal). An informal meeting was held on the 27 November at the ATB skate park in Hawksworth industrial estate, between members of the SRA and the West Swindon skate community. The objectives of the meeting were to enable the airing of views and opinions, to put right misunderstandings and misconceptions and to see if there was enough common ground to enable a joint set of recommendations. The ten points below are a summary of the agreements:
- Of the three proposed sites it is believed that Rivermead will have the fewest objections from local people followed by Shaw Ridge and then Salt Way
- Future proofing the site is important and we believe Rivermead is the site best suited for potential expansion both from a physical and an objection by local people standpoint
- Salt Way has many local objectors who are only likely to be appeased if a security fence and restricted access is included in the plan
- Security fences will add significant up-front and long term maintenance cost thereby reducing the spend on the actual skate park
- Users of the facility do not want a security fence as the fence will hinder skaters and, unless opening times are maximised to available daylight seven days a week, a small minority are likely to find a way in regardless of whether it is locked or not
- If antisocial behaviour occurs it will be from non-skaters
- Antisocial behaviour, particularly after dark, is more likely in locations that are more accessible; therefore Shaw Ridge will be the most prone to this, followed by Salt Way and then Rivermead
- Should antisocial behaviour occur after dark, it is likely to result in the site being vandalised or littered with broken glass (or worse) – this will add considerable maintenance costs to the facility and may even result in it becoming unusable
- Both the SRA and members of West Swindon Skate community are keen for the facility to be built on a location that will have the least negative impact on local people, be future proofed from an expansion and maintenance cost standpoint and have the lowest probability of undesirable elements frequenting the facility after dark
- Both the SRA and members of West Swindon Skate community wish to see the facility built as quickly as possible and ideally be open for use by the summer of 2014
Based on all these points, of the three options, the SRA and members of West Swindon Skate community believe Rivermead to be the right location. Visit the Swindon skate board community Facebook page to see their views, the Link magazine for more on the locations. Click here to complete the survey and here for an Advert article showing Rivermead as the preferred skate board community option.
Allotments for Shaw
20 November 2013
We are pulling together a list of interested residents so, if you are one of them, please tell us. To date we have made a case to our local councillors and won support in principle. Our goal is to have the allotments provided in a central location making it easy to walk to for most residents and have good wheelbarrow access! One possible good location is Salt Way School.
Swinley Drive Safety
6 November 2013
We are pulling together an argument to improve the safety for pedestrians, particularly children, crossing this road. If you agree improvements are needed please click here to sign the petition.
Washpool Bridge to be Strengthened and Widened
2 August 2013
The narrow bridge through Washpool is planned to be strengthened and widened within the next year. The SRA have been assured that the widening is to allow for a footpath to be run across it and not to allow two way traffic to flow – the road already suffers from extreme levels of rat run traffic with some drivers going much too fast – it has been reported by a Wiltshire councillor as the most dangerous road in Wiltshire.
Community Infrastructure Levy – CIL
The government is introducing a new way to collect infrastructure money from developers in parallel with the Section 106 requirements. The SRA have asked SBC some questions on this new process. Click here for the Q&A’s.
Shaw Forest Solar Park
SBC 2026 Local Plan
Click here to download our response to the plan. Our comments all centre around transport infrastructure in West Swindon and the need for the plan to be more robust in this respect. Click here to go to the SBC local plan web site and click here to download a document containing all the comments made and responses from SBC – note this is a 473 page document containing over 3000 responses!
Dual Lines for Swindon to Kemble Railway
Network rail has started the project to dual the line from Swindon to Kemble. Click here to learn more. If you have any questions or concerns about this effort, for example the impact on Sparcells residents, please email network rail at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wiltshire Core Strategy and Ridgeway Farm
Wiltshire County Council has released their Core Strategy consultation document (see below for links). It defines the area between Swindon and Wootton Bassett, Cricklade and Purton as “West of Swindon”. This newly defined area has been designated just 200 houses in the Core Strategy. These houses are already being built at Moredon Bridge. Therefore any development of Ridgeway Farm and Pry Farm (see maps below) would be outside of the Core Strategy. This is good news for the people of Swindon and our Wiltshire neighbours. The SRA is obviously supportive of this strategy. However, it does not stop the developer putting in a planning application, which will be considered on its merits. As such development of these “farms” could still go ahead. click here for our full position paper
Application for 50 more houses at Moredon Bridge site
The developer building the new homes on Wiltshire land at Moredon Bridge has put in an application for 50 more houses on the site. Visit the Wiltshire Planning web site and enter application number 11/02763/FUL to submit comments or view the application. The SRA has voiced its objection. Click here for our full position paper
What are all these “Farm” development proposals?
There are three potential areas of development to the West and North of Swindon. These proposals are complicated because two of them lay on land within the Wiltshire Council (WCC) planning authority and one on land within Swindon Borough Council (SBC) planning authority. This means any lobbying against the applications must be adapted based on the location. Click here for maps showing the location of these planning applications. Tadpole Farm is a proposal brought to us by SBC. Pry Farm and Ridgeway Farm are brought to us courtesy of WCC. On the later map, you will see an area called “Moredon Bridge Site”. This is also owned by WCC and this development has already started.
For WCC Core Strategy website click here
For SBC 2026 local plan click here