Redlands development – urgent action!

The proposed Redlands Park development in Highworth has recently had more revised plans submitted by the developer. We only have until May 1st 2020 to respond to those. Very little time is being allocated by SBC for parties to respond to planning revisions. We have drawn up a template letter (further down the page) that you are welcome to use. Please take and share this urgent action.

We are objecting to the proposed plans for the following reasons:

  • Removal of trees and other greenery.
  • Possible damage to mature tree roots.
  • Existing trees may be chopped back.
  • Most houses are not suitable to have solar panels.
  • There are too many houses / the density of housing is too high.
  • Energy efficiency not up to required standards.
  • Lack of sunlight for ‘affordable’ housing.
  • The developer would like to develop further on adjoining land once access is gained through the proposed Redlands development. Where do these developments end?
  • Distances for bin operatives to travel remains too high.
  • The outline planning permission stated that a full tree survey must be undertaken on all trees in and adjacent to the site. This has not been completed. There are serious safety concerns.
  • Attempts to bypass due process.
  • Further housing development is sought by the developer on an adjoining site once access is created through Redlands.

Template letter:

Send letters of objection to sbcdc@swindon.gov.uk

YOUR NAME
YOUR ADDRESS
Re: S/RES/19/1371 Redlands development
DATE

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing with objection to the Redlands Park proposals on the following bases:

  • The proposals would still mean 66 trees removed along with other greenery including the 100m of hedgerow that has also been removed. Removing trees and other greenery has many negative effects for the local ecology. Replacing mature trees for younger trees is not like for like, negatively affecting the local ecology in a number of ways. Trees significantly affect air quality by absorbing levels of CO2 and pollutants in our atmosphere as they photosynthesize. So, less trees will reduce air quality in the area, negatively impacting residents and wildlife. Flooding is another serious concern from over-development. Nearby Hannington Wick now floods for many months of the year, a significant increase over the last 20 years. That correlates to the numerous housing developments around Swindon.
  • 62 of the 67 houses in this proposed development face east and west so they are not suitable for installing solar panels and will not enjoy passive solar gain. A majority of the houses are either detached or link-detached so they will not benefit from the increased energy efficiency that can be achieved simply by building houses in terraces. Swindon Borough Councillor Jane Milner-Barry makes the observation in her objection that this makes the development out of line with the NPPF.
  • There is a lack of sunlight for ‘affordable’ housing. Consultant Ecologist Des Hobson, states in his report: ‘The site layout appears to indicate that a significant number of houses and gardens will be heavily shaded by trees. A great many gardens will be beneath tree canopies, which is likely to significantly adversely affecting residents’ amenity and ability to enjoy and cultivate their gardens. Houses and gardens should be drawn back from the trees, with shading diagrams demonstrating that this has been achieved, so there is not subsequent pressure to lop or remove trees.’
  • There are too many houses. The root systems of mature trees of houses directly adjoining the site will be impacted. Living areas in many houses are minimal. Quantity is currently placed over quality.
  • The developer acknowledged the need to maximise energy efficiency as required by the Highworth local plan, and also required by the NPPF and National Design Guide 2019, in the outline planning application. This is fundamental to achieving climate change targets. However as of 28 April there is still nothing in the submitted documents that explains how this will be achieved or what energy efficiency targets are being used. This needs to be properly addressed to ensure best case energy efficient design and construction will be achieved. This was raised in the objection from Swindon Climate Action Network coordinator Julian Jones.
  • The proposed housing to the Northern and North Eastern boundaries (plots 1-17) will still impact the tree canopies and root systems of mature trees in the gardens of houses directly adjoining the site.
  • Distances for bin operatives to travel remains too high, up to 25m.
  • The outline planning permission stated that a full tree survey must be undertaken on all trees in and adjacent to the site. This has not been completed. There are serious safety concerns.

I am not happy to hear of the attempt to bypass due process, the reason given being the current situation with COVID-19. The proposed development needs to meet standards if it is to be approved. More time is needed to respond to planning revisions. We have had only a few days to respond. I ask that this is given so that plans can be properly scrutinised.

I look forward to your response.

Kind regards,

YOUR NAME.

If you would like to view documents on the proposed plans:

  • Go to https://pa1.swindon.gov.uk/publicaccess/
  • In the box below where it reads ‘Enter a keyword, reference number, postcode or single line of an address’ enter S/RES/19/1371 and click on the ‘search’ button.
  • Click on the ‘documents’ tab.