A primary school with ‘community facilities’ and nursery proposed for ‘Parcel 36’ of East Wichel has a very Victorian looking front. Behind that is tagged on something looking like a cheap 1970s extension. The overall effect of the design for Swindon Borough Council is a ramshackle building that appears to have been starved of funds before it’s even been built.
Actually, given that this expansion of Swindon has been imposed by central government with little, if any, financial support, that last thought might not be far from the truth.
The latest planning application for one of the affordable housing blocks in East Wichel includes a revised design for the noise bund (or mound of earth) that is meant to reduce the noise from motorway traffic for residents in the boxes houses of the new development. The new design, in the words of the report supporting the application,
uses a steeper aspect ratio, enabling the crest of the bunding to be moved slightly closer to the M4 motorway.
Of course, in doing so it allows the foot of the bunding to be moved closer to the M4 too, allowing a bit more space to cram more houses in. Fortunately for the residents of Wroughton, they are going to get rather wider (and more attractive) sound protection.
It seems I may have been a little harsh in my criticisms of the Swindon Front Garden Action Group’s claims about the wetness of the Swindon Front Garden. Today, after a week of fairly continuous, and at times very heavy, rain, the area eventually to become West Wichel (but for the moment still called South Leaze) contained four large expanses of water. ’Tis rather unfortunate, given that the plans only include one. The access-road embankment will make a fine viewing point for the water below. Rather than seeking a developer who is
Someone who doesn’t just deal in the bricks and mortar of sustainability but someone who knows how to create sustainable communities.
I suggest Mr Bluh would be wiser to seek out a good boat builder.
The plans for some of the affordable housing blocks of East Wichel recently submitted look positively Victorian. Whilst some of theearlierSwindon Front Gardenplanningapplications had that semi–fake-victoriana look that is becoming so familiar in the infilling of every vacant space of Old Town, these look, from the ‘street scenes’ (developers’ fantasies to you) that the developers are obliged to include with their plans, much closer to the real thing. Previous plots show a lack of scale, with steep rooves and three or four storey houses, to pack as many houses into as small a space as possible. ‘Parcel 18’ is the lucky winner of rows of victorianesque two-storey terraces. komadori suspects it is only the proximity of this plot to the M4 motorway that has prevented the developers being more greedy: taller buildings would not have been effectively protected by the ‘sound barrier’ (big mound of earth to you) that is being constructed between these houses and the motorway.
It may not have been demolished yet, but WestlecottFarm is now surrounded by development work. Further east, with only a few months to go before the first houses in East Wichel are meant to be ready, there’s no sign of even foundations being laid yet.
How nice it is to see a good old fashioned claim-and-counter-claim argument between the developers of Swindon’s front garden on the one hand and the protesters on the other. From the developers there’s a new report from their consultants that’s being presented with an everything’s fine, don’t worry mate tone (though as the report’s not yet available to the public there’s no way of knowing if this is an accurate interpretation).
Research suggests the worst flooding for 1,000 years could see flood levels reach 39.5cm, but Taylor Wimpey said an extra 20cm safety margin had been included to make sure water does not enter houses, even taking unpredictable climate change into account. Wichelstowe project director David Evans said: “We were always confident that Wichelstowe had been designed to provide a robust protection against flooding and hope the result of this latest study will allay any concerns local people may have had about new homes being flooded in the future.”
Frag chairman Terry King said his trip to the Front Garden site during the July floods proved otherwise. “I went down there and saw lakes where houses are to be built and roads already have been under half a metre of water, so I just don’t believe them…. To start with the developers said there was no risk of flooding. Then they decided to raise the ground, so they have already gone back on their word. I would be interested to see whether, when the houses have been built, owners will be able to insure them.”
As I’ve previously noted, I don’t believe either grouping. Like Mr King, I also went for a walk around after the heavy rain in July and the evidence I saw lies somewhere between the claims of the two sides: the houses may well be dry, but I very much doubt that the access roads will be.
I’m not sure whether the developers of Swindon’s front garden are intending to offer dinghies with their houses, but perhaps they should. In the plans, most of the area in the first photograph below is going to be a lake. The other photographs show what, in the plans, will be the main river access road to West Wichel.