Inlands Farm Science Park Appeal and Public Inquiry
I am sure I heard a collective sigh of relief in August 2020 when the Swindon Borough Council Planning Department rejected the application S/OUT/18/1943 for a Science Park at Inlands Farm, Wanborough. As we now know that sigh was short lived as the applicant has decided to appeal to the Secretary of State thus initiating a Public Inquiry commencing on 15th June 2021.
As a group SSPG, using donations from many local individuals, joined forces with many other interested groups and official bodies to successfully oppose the original application. The new campaign to present evidence at a Public Inquiry will be vastly different from our previous efforts. We will need to utilise expert witnesses, employ planning consultants and commission reports to be presented and examined in front of the Inquiry Inspector. There is no doubt that this expenditure will be in excess of previously donated funds. As a target we envisage a spend of around £15,000, twice as much as the 2020 effort.
So, if you passionately believe that this monstrous Science Park & Distribution Centre should not rise out of the green fields beside Pack Hill and The Marsh, could I ask that you double your previous donation. Together we can protect the South Downs AONB and avoid the dismantling of the promised Area on Non-Coalescence.
Treasurer SSPG April 2021.
Science Park or Distribution Centre
This is not just another call to ‘protect the green space’, its a call to protect a way of life!
Big developers with huge budgets, expert planning & development consultants and a dedicated PR company. Wasdell mean business with this proposal. They are trying to sell us the concept of a 'Science Park' on the edge of Wanborough. It isn’t. It’s an industrial (distribution & manufacturing) site, which will be bigger than the village of Wanborough itself.
It flies in the face of the agreed non-coalescence zone, which was specifically set up to protect Wanborough, Bishopstone & Bourton from being urbanised. This area has not been included in the Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) and it borders the North Wessex Downs ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’.
Highlights of the hybrid proposal include:-
- Full planning application for a huge B&Q/Symmetry Park-style 50-foot-high industrial warehouse and distribution facility which runs half the length of the Marsh and up most of Pack Hill.
- The application details loading bays for articulated trucks, with a managed gated entrance which will result in several hundred articulated vehicle movements each day.
- The 24/7 facility will require as many as 600 packers and other low-skilled workers, to commute to/from Wanborough.
- The application includes outline planning for a further massive warehouse and distribution facility, as well as other large buildings that could be used for Research and Design or any other use.
(An example of what the industrial park near Wanborough on this site might look like- see SSPG site for link to planning submission for the developer's exact proposals for Inlands Farm)
(A similar industrial unit off the A419 - see SSPG site for link to planning submission for the developer's exact proposals for Inlands Farm)
There will be other negative impacts on the area, including additional rat running, which is already a problem through the High Street, and along Church Road, Pack Hill and the Marsh, especially when there is a problem on the M4 or A419. The increase in HGVs on the small village and country roads will make commuting much more difficult. In addition there will be serious light pollution from a site this size, noise pollution from a 24/7 operation and the potential impact on the flood plain and the danger of flood water for our homes. We all remember when the River Cole flooded many of the houses between Kingfisher Drive and the A419.
Many people visit our villages for recreational reasons; socialising, sport, horse riding, cycling, running, walking their dogs. This development will change the nature of the villages we all enjoy forever and, unfortunately, hindsight will be too late.
We expect the developers intend to take this proposal all the way to the Secretary of State if they do not get permission from Swindon Borough Council. We will eventually need significant resources to fight this plan at the national level, which will be a long and difficult process.
Please help us to protect our villages so that we can all enjoy them. And, do get involved in the fight – we need to stand together.
Give as generously as you can – we need your support to make this work.
Thank you in advance for anything you can contribute. If you would like to discuss making a large donation directly to the SSPG, please contact [email redacted].uk in the first instance in confidence.
Among other things, your donation may be used to:
- help print flyers to raise awareness
- run workshops to help residents write objections
- enlist the help of experts (eg lawyers/planners) to help understand the huge amount of documents in the planning submission and raise objections
- run the SSPG website and mailing list.
Our initial target is £10,000, but we ultimately may need a lot more.
Any funds remaining after the SSPG campaign will be used or donated to a similar purpose (as per the SSPG Constitution).
About the South Swindon Protection Group (SSPG)
The Purpose of SSPG will be to promote for the benefit of the public of South Swindon the conservation protection and improvement of the local physical and natural environment, including in particular but not exclusively the area of non-coalescence between Swindon and its surrounding villages, the North Wessex Downs AONB, the Wanborough Conservation areas.
The issue of immediate concern to SSPG is the proposed development of land in the non-coalescence area or joining the AONB in the South Swindon Area. In particular, the group is opposed to the Inlands Farm development, for a commercial distribution and manufacturing park, which will be detrimental to village life, bring air noise and light pollution as well as traffic and environmental impacts. If this proposal succeeds, there will be nothing standing in the way of further development.