Resolution to grant permission at Swindon Borough Council’s Planning Committee for 70 dwellings at Blunsdon

Impact Planning Services (IPS) is delighted that an application for 70 dwellings (including 30% affordable) at Sams Lane, Blunsdon, Swindon, received a resolution to grant from Swindon Borough Councils’ (SBC) Planning Committee this week, following the Case Officer’s recommendation to permit the scheme.

The site lies on the eastern edge of the village. It is an unallocated green field site however it lies in relatively close proximity to the historic core with good accessibility to local facilities and bus services. The proposal was the subject of an earlier “call for sites” response on behalf of the applicant. Swindon Borough Council (SBC) however is currently experiencing a severe residential land supply shortfall. This site is relatively unconstrained thus housing completions are likely to be achieved more quickly than elsewhere, particularly at the more major allocations currently stalled by “big ticket” infrastructure provision.

All images are credited to Urban Perspective.

IPS assisted the project team preparing a robust outline application, submitted to the Borough Council earlier in the year. This included a public consultation with the Parish Council, local shop committee and discussions with SBC’s planning team and statutory consultees.

Through the application process, consultation objections were received from the SBC’s heritage consultant and conservation officer. IPS prepared a comprehensive response statement which fully addressed these concerns highlighting the landscape buffer between the historic assets and the proposal comprising an extension to the local cemetery and substantial swathes of public open space included as part of the proposed development. This further included assessment of the consultee comments in the context of SBC’s Conservation Area Appraisal assessing views into and from the site.

The scheme also includes a new building and relocation for the village community shop. The Blunsdon Village Shop currently provides a valued community facility and convenience shop within the village. This facility is the subject of a now expired temporary permission granted by SBC for the current porta cabin building. The shop is run by a ‘not -for-profit’ local committee and volunteers, who have expressed a desire to move into a permanent facility, with additional space to expand upon the current range of produce available.

IPS facilitated discussion between the shop committee and the applicant to include a building on the site for the Blunsdon Village Shop which will be constructed by the developer. This will be secured within the s.106 agreement. The provision of this facility on the site, including public open space and equipped play area, is a clear planning benefit of the scheme and will become an asset for the village.

The Case Officer’s Committee report concluded that any the harm to the setting of the designated heritage assets is outweighed by the public benefits of the proposal. In applying the “tilted balance” and taking into consideration the significant housing land supply shortfall in the Borough, the adverse impacts of granting planning permission would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, including 30% affordable housing – thus it was recommended to the Committee that planning permission should be granted subject to completion of the s106 agreement.

The approval of this scheme will deliver much needed new homes and affordable housing (21 units) within Swindon, a local authority who is currently only able to demonstrate a housing land supply of 2.7 years; a significant shortfall. IPS look forward to seeing this scheme rapidly progress to the completion of new homes at this superb site.


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