Aldi and Bellway Homes

Bellway Homes – application approved

12 March 2016

SBC planning committee approved the application.

Bellway Homes – Council officers still not happy

28 January 2016

During this month, SBC’s highways and housing officers have commented on the latest application from Bellway homes for the 70 houses off Chelmsford Road. They summarise their views with the following paragraphs (highways first):

“In summary the proposals do not address the issues previously identified.  Revised plans and additional information should be provided.  Until such time at these matters are resolved I would recommend a refusal”
“The AH terraced properties continue to have rear access alleyways. They are dreadful and many still appear to be excessively long to potentially push a green wheelie bin. I note that none of my comments relating to the AH plans, elevations and house types have been addressed, so these still stand as previously referred to”.

Bellway Homes  Application Modified but SRA Objection Sustained

10 December 2015

Following our objection to the proposals based on their not being enough allocated parking spaces and the damning comments from SBC’s Urban Design and tree officers, Bellway Homes have modified their proposals for the 70 homes next to the new Aldi Store just off Chelmsford Road. The SRA response to the modified applications is as follows:

Having reviewed the latest proposals by Bellway homes for the development at Westlea Campus (S/OUT/14/0568) we renew our request for the application to be called in, and for the number of planned homes for the site to be significantly reduced. Our assessment is as follows:
1. On a positive note, the number of parking bays has increased from 124 to 137 but, as noted previously, we do not support the notion of counting garages as parking bays and therefore we consider the application to be 17 spaces short of SBC guidelines.
2. The destruction of so many trees is of particular concern to us. We note the new proposals will retain 73 existing (numbered) trees as apposed to 67 in the original. However, there is still a plan to remove 68 trees along with many more in the group known as G130. We note the comments from SBC’s tree officer have been paid little heed. He requested trees 176, 177 and 178 be retained, tree 178 is still to be axed. He asked for more trees in the group 1-14 be retained, just two more of these trees will be saved. He asked for trees 18-21 be saved, they will still be cut down. He also commented on the viability of retained trees 47-52 but there is no mention of plans to ensure they survive in the arboriculture report.
3. SBC’s urban design officer made some damning comments about the original layout proposals. Whilst we can see some changes have been made, they do not seem to be very significant and he did state that in the original proposals ‘parking dominates the quality of space’.
In summary: parking has increased, but is still below guidelines; SBC’s urban designer felt parking in the original plan was detrimental to the quality of space, and now there are more; SBC’s tree officer’s views have been largely dismissed, presumably because there is not enough space for trees and the number of proposed houses. We therefore remain of the opinion that too many houses are trying to be crammed into too small a space and therefore maintain our objection to this application.

SRA Request for Bellway Homes Application to be Rejected

3 November 2015

The SRA wrote this letter to the relevant planning officer at SBC and copied Shaw Councillors

In light of the comments from ourselves (the SRA) together with the really damning comments from Mr Garitsis (attached), may I ask about the status of the application and whether it will be rejected with a request to improve the design? The SRA view is that the application fails to provide adequate parking facilities and yet Mr Garitsis complains that it is “heavily compromised by the highway layout. Car parking dominates the quality of place throughout”. The only conclusion that can be drawn from such views (when you also consider the comments from the tree officer – attached) is that the developer is trying to cram too many houses into too small a space. As such we ask that the developer is asked to reduce the number of houses in the application.
We do understand that the application has outline planning consent and that it does not need to go to the planning committee. We also understand, and respect, the fact that you are empowered to make the decision on the application on behalf of the council and residents. However, given the somewhat controversial nature of the comments and concerns, and the likely (I am thinking appeal) response of the developer to a rejection of the detailed plans, perhaps it would make sense for councillors to call the application in and have it heard in public with a debate by the planning committee with your recommendations at the heart of the debate.

Chelmsford Road Houses – Damning Comments From SBC Urban Design Officer

20 October 2015

Click here for the full report posted, onto SBC’s public planning website, by SBC’s Urban Design officer. He is scathing in his views of the current application. The second sentence reads “the scheme lacks the placemaking quality required of all new housing in the Borough” and goes on to say “…layout is the results of a purely constraints-driven engineering exercise…”. Other comments include: “the proposed house types are very ordinary”, “result in wheelie and recycling bins littering many of the frontages permanently”.

It also states that the proposal is “compromised by the highway layout” and suggests that “car parking dominates the quality of space”. Furthermore, SBC’s tree officer has posted these comments where he voices serious concerns about the destruction of so many important trees.

Given that the SRA does not believe there is adequate car parking being proposed for this development together with all the above comments, only one conclusion can be reached – the developer is trying to maximise his profits through poor designs and by cramming in more houses than the site can accommodate.

Dangerous Footpath Access to new Aldi in West Swindon

6 October 2015

The SRA is extremely concerned about the poor footpath access to the new Aldi in West Swindon. Whilst it is possible for pedestrians to access the store from the footpath on the petrol station side of Shaw Road (although the ‘safety’ island in the middle of Shaw Road serving the store is very small – a family with buggies etc. struggles to fit in it), several members of the SRA have witnessed single and groups of people (some even with a child in a buggy) walking along the grass verge, or on the road, between the Ridge Green junction and the new store. The verge is very uneven with several trip hazards along the way and a security fence blocks the verge between Chelmsford Road and Aldi. As a result pedestrians must walk in the road. Given that drivers are now faced with negotiating the junction off Mead Way together with the access into the new store and the fact that there is an access to a petrol station opposite, it is likely some may be distracted enough to miss seeing pedestrians in the road. As the nights draw in, this hazard will become much worse.

We are of the opinion that it is not a case of ‘if’ it will happen; it is a case of ‘when’ a pedestrian will be hit by a motorist. We have called on the council to take two urgent actions:

  1. Without delay, the security fence is moved back so pedestrians have the option to keep to the grass verge
  2. Trip hazards along the verge are removed and a temporary footpath is installed

Bellway Homes Application to build 70 homes off Chelmsford Road

31 August 2015

The application is on land surrounding the new Aldi (opposite the Renault Building on Mead Way) and is for 70 homes. We are developing our response to the application and will post it here when done. The deadline for comments is 15 September.

All documents can be found by clicking here and searching on application S/OUT/14/0568

Aldi Planning Application Approved

14 October 2014

The application was approved together with the proposed entrance directly off Shaw Road. However, the proposed housing development has not yet been approved and will be reviewed at a later date. There are major concerns with the number of houses versus parking spaces being proposed.

Bellway Homes Chelmsford Road Housing Application Parking Bay Allocation Appears to be Flawed

8 September 2015

We have sent the following objection to Swindon Borough Council:

Bellway Homes ‘design and access statement’ document on page 13 states: “it is proposed to provide some 160 parking spaces …… the proposed layout allows for 26 vehicles over and above the required private parking provision”.  The ‘parking arrangements’ document proposes 124 parking bays and 36 garages, indicating that the developer wishes to count garages as parking bays. From these numbers it can be concluded that Bellway Homes believes they must provide 134 parking bays and that garages may be included in the count.

The ‘planning layout’ document states there will be a total of 6 one bedroom homes with the remainder being 2, 3 or 4 bed.  Our interpretation of the SBC parking standards indicates that there should be 2 spaces per unit for houses up to 4 bedrooms, plus 1 visitor space for every 5 units. That equates to 154 spaces and not the 134 Bellway Homes assert.

The SRA does not support the notion of counting garages as parking bays and is of the opinion that this application is 30 spaces short. We therefore object to this application on the grounds that the developer’s numbers on parking allocations appear to be flawed and additionally on the basis of inadequate parking arrangements.

When this application is taken into context with the adjacent new Aldi store, we believe there is a potential for overspill parking to occur along Shaw Road. We therefore ask for parking / waiting restrictions to be considered on Shaw Road between the Mead Way and Ridge Green junctions.

Aldi Planning Application Delayed until October

5 September 2014

Due to “unresolved elements regarding the residential part of the scheme”, the application will not be presented to the planning committee until the October 7th meeting. The original determination deadline was 17 July and it would seem the delay is the result of SBC planning department negotiating a more favourable outcome.

It is not thought that these delays have anything to do with the access road concerns raised by the SRA and other residents.

Aldi Traffic Assessment

2 August 2014

An assessment of the existing traffic on Shaw Road concludes there will be no impact to traffic flow from the new Aldi Development at Westlea Campus. Click here for the specific report and here for the full list of planning documents.

SRA Aldi Comments

7 June 2014

We have submitted the following comments with respect to the detailed planning application for a new Aldi store on Westlea Campus: We have no objection to the proposed development but would ask that further consideration is given to the road infrastructure. In particular, we would urge evaluation of the use of a route into the store via Chelmsford Road, through the housing, or an option to redevelop and widen Shaw Road to allow for safe vehicle (including articulated vehicles) access and exit.

Aldi Application – 30 May Deadline for Comments

12 May 2014

Click here for the full application details and here for the site plan. If you wish to comment you must do so by 30 May

New Aldi + More Houses Proposal for Westlea Campus

8 February 2014

Aldi have put in an application to build a new store on Westlea Campus (opposite the Renault Building with access off Shaw Road) – the development proposal also includes 90 new houses and involves the demolition of the existing empty office buildings. A public exhibition by the company will be made in the Link Centre Library on the 13 February 3pm – 7pm. The SRA position is this:

“Whilst we agree with the benefits of developing a currently unused brown-field site and welcome the new jobs the store will bring, we are concerned about the loss of business land to yet more housing in west Swindon and the impact this will have on our already over capacity roads. We are particularly concerned about road access to the store and the impact to surrounding areas at peak times should the stores car park overflow. To mitigate these concerns, and if more houses must be built, we would like to see the planned number reduced substantially in favour of a store car park with 20% more spaces than Aldi would normally provide for such a facility together with a robust and fit for purpose access road design”