Whilst looking through the current crop of planning applications, having perused the application to build 210 houses near Lydiard Park which is causing some concern locally, my attention was drawn to a somewhat more remote application. In fact not just remote, but positively out-of-the-way.

Comwood (London) Ltd have applied to build twenty affordable houses at Langton Park. That’s up the hill from Wroughton, near to one of the side entrances to Wroughton Airfield. It’s quite some hill and for pedestrians or pedal cyclists the climb from Wroughton is not for the faint hearted — fine if you’re reasonably healthy, but not otherwise. Naturally, the architects take a rather more positive view of things.

The guidance document also outlines that cycling can replace car trips up to 5km. The proposed development site offers good cycle links to local amenities and employment in Wroughton. Footways are present along most lengths of the private roads surrounding the site, although there are no signed cycle routes. However, the roads are relatively wide and are lightly trafficked, which is ideal for pedestrians and cyclists.

So that’s not specifically a cycle link at all, just an ordinary road. And the roads are only ‘relatively wide and lightly trafficked’ within the Thorney Park, Langton Park and Alexandra Park areas. Head towards Wroughton from Thorney Park or Langton Park and the roads are much narrower and without footways.

The nearest post office (Wroughton Sub-Post Office) being some 2.3km (1.4 miles) distant, can be reached in approximately 12 minutes, assuming a cycling speed of 12km (7.5mph)…. Account has also to be been taken of the topography, which is downhill heading towards Wroughton. The topography may or may not dissuade some potential cycle users.

May or may not dissuade? As an occasional recreational cycle ride, fine. As a regular commute to the ‘employment in Wroughton’, a hard slog up Prior’s Hill is not what I’d want after a hard day’s work. Correspondence on the application suggests that Swindon Borough Council’s planning department are no more convinced than I am.

Both the Langton Park and Grange Park proposed developments are outwith the boundaries specified in planning policy for development. Sadly, the developers’ inventiveness in reinterpreting those policies knows no such bounds.

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