Phil Smith Planning Policy Manager and Rachel Adams, Planning Department Swindon Borough Council met 10 residents at the Beehive pub on Tuesday 20 November at 19:30.
Phil gave an overview of planning as it affects Eastcott and helpfully put Forward Swindon’s ‘Master Plan’, the Swindon ‘Local Plan’ and neighbourhood plans into context. Neighbourhood plans are at the creation stage and the most relevant to local concerns in Eastcott. The Localism Act 2011 is a new approach to planning and local communities. Details of the Act are here
The ‘Master Plan’ despite its name is a very broad strategic and aspirational document. The Council currently operate to the Local Plan, however neighbourhood plans can now be created that will have to be considered by SBC alongside the Local Plan.
Neighbourhood plans will be created by ‘Neighbourhood Forums’. These can be established by anyone and there can be several operating at the same time in the same area. The basic need is an elementary structure of officers and a committee/forum of 21. Concerns over planning issues around King William Street School, both its need for extra buildings and the opportunity that Stage Coach bus depot offers for open space; the Savernake Halls and surrounding land; the Technical Schools; and Radnor Street Cemetery. Would be best handled by a Neighbourhood Forum. In particular the ability to register Community Assets offered opportunities to safeguard and appropriate develop these sites. Back Garden will consider the creation of a Neighbourhood Forum which could address these and other concerns in its area.
There were shorter discussions over other planning topics including houses in multiple occupancy; car parking; the College site. The Council has a Planning Enforcement Team who should be informed of houses that come into multiple occupancy.