NO to Ridgeway Farm or other mass housing projects
In June 2010, a new duty on local authorities (which includes Wiltshire Council) came into force and now requires the Council to respond to petitions and to tell local people what action is going to be taken. It is part of a set of measures designed to reinvigorate local democracy. Hitherto, some of our local authorities have been very dismissive of “petitions”: being seen as just a product of a few maverick individuals rather than what they really were ~ a thoughtful contribution to a particular debate on issue. With a change in government thinking and the intention of the current administration to enable local councils to play a more important role in planning decisions it is important that local authorities do listen to their electorate. Part of the duty is that the Council has to make an electronic facility available for e-petitions. Petitions with significant support trigger a debate of full council. The threshold for “significance” is nominally 5% but the Council has set it, admirably, at 2.5% (about 11 500 signatures). Anyone who works, lives, studies or uses the “services” of the Council may submit a petition.
It has been suggested that Ps and Qs opens a petition on Ridgeway Farm and the general concept of mass housing projects between Swindon and the parish of Purton. Residents’ lives are being affected by planning and the constant need to be on top of the latest application or consultation. The residents have a right to peaceful living and not have to worry about the next thing in the pipeline, at the whim and fancy of property speculators.
We, the undersigned, do not agree that there is sufficient, verifiable need for more mass housing in the Parish of Purton which is within the Unitary Authority of Wiltshire Council. In particular we do not agree with proposals for houses to be built at Ridgeway Farm and adjacent land within the Parish of Purton for several reasons:
1. The Regional Spatial Strategy under which these houses were allocated is being abolished due to its flawed nature
2. There is no substantiated local need
3. There are limited employment opportunities within the Parish which creates a reliance on private car for access to Wiltshire’s main centres of employment. It also places a reliance on employment in the neighbouring Swindon Borough Council
4. The criteria used for housing need have changed since the initial numbers were allocated and therefore do not take into account climate change, lower levels of economic growth, migration patterns and other sustainability criteria
5. Inadequate infrastructure related to provision of energy, water, solid waste, sewerage and roads
6. Known vulnerabilities such as the flooding of 2007/2008
7. Promotion of coalescence when large-scale development is placed in a rural parish
8. Inability of the parish to provide essential services needed for such a large addition creating a separate community bolted onto the boundary of Purton with SBC
9. The site, being divorced from the village settlement, adds nothing to the community of the Parish
In addition, we believe that the concept of a rural buffer which was removed by the former Regional Spatial Strategy should be reinstated, and that the Community Plan which was widely consulted within north Wiltshire should be respected.