Tag: Wroughton

A pub for East Wichel

Artist impression of Marston’s East Wichel pub

Today the Adver has reported that Marston’s Inns has submitted a planning application for a pub at East Wichel. Despite what the Adver says, I can’t yet find the planning application on Swindon Borough Council’s website. The only information on it I can find is in the minutes of the March meeting of the Wichelstowe developers’ community forum.

East Wichel pub plans. Click for larger image.What this pub won’t be is one that’s at the centre of the community. It’s on a plot — designated as a ‘commercial plot’ in the East Wichel masterplan — right at the edge of the development. Indeed, once Blackhorse Bridge across the motorway is opened, it’ll be not much closer for most East Wichel residents than the Check Inn in North Wroughton — the two pubs will stand almost opposite each other separated by the M4. With the new pub including a 180 seat restaurant — dwarfing the Check Inn’s 30 seat dining area — it’s clearly aiming to serve rather more than just the local community.

The Check Inn has had a fairly chequered history of late, with landlord’s struggling to make a success of it — Fuller’s are advertising it to let at the moment. A vast new pub nearby, just across the motorway, may be good for the residents of East Wichel, but for those of North Wroughton it’s likely to bring further disappointment.


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.

A day at the museum

The Science Museum at Wroughton. Photo © komadori.komadori spent much of yesterday at the Science Museum Festival of Innovation at Wroughton. The mix of old the museum’s old — and sometimes not-so-old — artefacts, a small number of exhibitors showing off their new technology, a location with fine views, plus excellent weather all made for a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Curating. Photo © komadori.One other thing that made the festival enjoyable was that it was busy, but not crowded. There was space to stand back and admire the exhibits; the place was bustling but not thronged. As others have pointed out, the event didn’t get a great deal of publicity.Mocked up for speed. Photo © komadori. An article in the local newspaper, a page on Facebook, a video advert a few twitters from the museum’s senior curator, and that was it. Of more conventional advertising there was, seemingly, very little. That really doesn’t match the event manager’s stated aspirations.

We want people to know that this amazing facility is on their doorstep and it is the first and only time this year that it is open to the public. We want everyone in Swindon to come along and get involved.

Furry dice and alloy wheels. Photo © komadori.In the run-up to the museum’s bid for lottery funding, the museum opened several times in the year. Now that’s passed, they seem to have given up somewhat. That said, if they had really promoted the festival, I doubt they could’ve coped without shipping in staff from other branches of the museum or volunteers. As the museum’s senior curator has said,

stored collections – where there is a will to open them up, there’s a way.

Lets hope they find both the will and the way more often in future, and shout rather louder about it when they do.


I’ve been waiting for the latest artists impressions for the updated Science Museum at Wroughton to appear on their website. They have, apparently, been three months in the making and the director of the museum has great aspirations for them

I hope these images will give people a sense of the sheer scale of the Inspired experience and the serious fun that Inspired visitors will have.

All I can say is they’ll have to be significantly more inspiring than the one picture shown in The Adver, which looks like nothing more than a big, drearily painted store room.

Flights of fancy

Hangar heavenI’m very much in favour of the ‘Inspired’ proposals for the Science Museum at Wroughton Airfield, but as usual the artist’s impression is glossy nonsense: never before have a set of old concrete hangers looked so shiny. In the words of the architect responsible for this nonsense

It looks quite pretty. Swindon could do with more landmark buildings so these plans could be the answer.

Pretty? It’s just infilling between the existing hangars. It will be no more a ‘landmark’ than those existing hangars (which admittedly are visible on the hilltop from the southern edge of Swindon) and according to the artist’s impression will be almost completely hidden by trees. There’s certainly no wow factor here.