Planning secured for 1,550-home Swindon development, but science park fails

New Eastern Villages Swindon

Planning has been secured from Swindon Borough Council for the New Eastern Villages, one of the largest and most important urban regeneration developments within the UK, according to its developer Capital Land. The company will be delivering a minimum of 1550 private and affordable homes at the Great Stall East site along with a primary and secondary school within the development.

Planning officers granted planning permission for Great Stall East. New Eastern Villages will make a significant contribution towards Swindon’s economy, with employment opportunities at Symmetry Park, within the Great Stall West development area.

However, things haven’t gone so well for the Wasdell Group which has been refused permission to build a science park between Wanborough and the A419. The firm had said the development would create 800 new jobs over the next two years. Wasdell Group CEO Martin Tedham has now warned that he will be forced to move the company, which employs 650 people, away from Swindon. He said he had looked at 18 other sites around the town, but all of them were too small.

Wasdell is Europe’s largest independent manufacturing and packaging supplier. Its proposals for the science park would have delivered new facilities for R&D and high-tech manufacturing in the region, as well as meeting the Group’s own requirements for growth.

The proposed site for the Science Park was at Inlands Farm, Wanborough, 300 metres south of the New Eastern Villages strategic allocation and just north of junction 15 of the M4. The Inlands Farm site is currently not allocated for development, but Wasdell’s consultants examined 65 possible sites in total, and of those Inlands Farm was the only site that meets the specific needs of the Wasdell Group.

However there application was opposed by residents of Wanborough and others, and also by Highways England and the council’s own planning officers.

Borough council leader David Renard supported the application, saying he believed the economic benefits outweigh the planning considerations.