Go-ahead for 300 Swindon homes on site allocated for employment use

Plans have been approved for 300 homes on land currently allocated for employment use on the edge of Swindon, after planners concluded that the site would be 'unlikely to be taken up for commercial use in a reasonable timescale'.

A visualisation of the finished development
A visualisation of the finished development

Swindon Borough Council approved the scheme, being promoted by developers Persimmon Homes and Redrow, earlier this week.

The plans are proposed for a site within a wider development known as Badbury Park, which was approved by the secretary of state in 2012.

On approval, the Badbury Park scheme allocated the site for employment use.

A planning report said that, due to the site’s allocation for employment use, the development would be contrary to local planning policy.

But the report said planners accepted that, on the evidence presented, "the site is unlikely to be taken up for commercial use in a reasonable timescale".

Officers added that, "as there is no reasonable prospect of the employment land coming forward within the plan period and the development would contribute to the sustainability of the development as a whole, the proposal is considered acceptable in planning policy terms".

The report also said the council cannot at present demonstrate a five year housing land supply in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework.

It said that the applicant had committed to the delivery of the new homes "within the next three years".

"Whilst the lack of a five-year supply is in itself not a reason for approval, it is considered that the contribution the additional housing could make to the supply to be a significant material consideration in favour of the proposal", the report said.

Recommending approval, the report also said the proposal's traffic impact had been assessed "and found to be different, but slightly less than the approved business park use, therefore no further mitigation is required on the wider network".

In June, housing secretary James Brokenshire blocked a 2,600-home Swindon scheme over heritage concerns. 

Earlier this week, plans were submitted for a 613-home development on a trading estate in Hove, Sussex. 

Earlier this month, plans were submitted for a 1,500-flat development on land currently allocated for industrial use in Salford Quays.


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