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Smoke and Mirrors

Its fiction... an application that doesn't stand up to scrutiny

  • 10 June 2020
  • Author: John Warr
  • Number of views: 698
  • 0 Comments
Smoke and Mirrors

Dusted-Off Wanborough Development Slammed As Mere Smoke And Mirrors

Local protest group, the South Swindon Protection Group, today called for the revised application for a proposed land development in Lower Wanborough to be thrown out by SBC’s Planning Committee.

John Warr, the Group’s Chair, said:“The South Swindon Protection Group is extremely disappointed that this application for an industrial development has been resubmitted, after buying time for nearly a year, with just a handful of cosmetic changes. It is an application hiding behind smoke and mirrors. Wasdell have not put their name on the application for the ‘Science Park’, despite extensive PR claims that they need this single site to consolidate their own Swindon Operations.”

Having delayed the planning deadline by a year, Wasdell Properties, have in the last 2 weeks submitted over 150 documents to support a revised hybrid application, consisting of a full planning application for a huge Warehouse and Distribution centre and an outline application for a Second Warehouse and a set of buildings which it claims will form a Science Park.

Wasdells have not guaranteed to take occupancy as part of their application and, in a letter to the Planning Department regarding their challenge about the class of the application, their agents state:

A planning permission is not sought for Wasdell or any other potential occupier, and as such all occupiers would be required to fall within the approved Use Classes. Should the Council determine that an occupier is not in compliance with this in due course, the Council would have within its powers the ability to take enforcement action against any non-compliant practices or uses.


Warehousing operations generally employ low numbers of low skilled, often zero hours, staff. This development will not bring “hundreds of new jobs” to Swindon. As confirmed in their press release in April, if Wasdell were to occupy this site it will be “to locate all our Swindon businesses on one site”. This would mean closing 3 existing sites in Swindon and relocate their workforce to the new site. Far from creating new jobs it could lead to some redundancy as they would achieve some economies of scale.
Swindon Borough Council had previously challenged the applicant that the class of the filing was wrong. With 85% of the proposed building in Phase 1 being allocated to 12m high racking, and with 6 loading bays, the facility is clearly designed for B8 Class “warehousing and storage use” but the applicant has applied for Class B1C, which is “light industrial use”.

John Warr commented further:
Could it be that once the application has been accepted, the warehousing would be outsourced to a third-party logistics operation like Amazon? Whether Wasdell adopt it, or a third party, it will not create the jobs that are being claimed. Historically B1C applications can more easily be transferred into residential applications. Nearby Badbury Park was marketed as an industrial site for over 5 years unsuccessfully; due to lack of interest. It is now a site for hundreds of homes. If there was no demand for these facilities at Badbury Park or Symmetry
Park, and 50% of Cheney Manor has been demolished, then where are the entrepreneurs waiting to take residence of this speculative development?

Residents have been given just until June 27 th to formally lodge an objection. In the coming days the SSPG will provide additional updates on the application and will issue guidance to residents on their concerns so they can formulate their own response.

 

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