How To Contact Us

Twitter: @WeAreOakhurst Facebook: ORA Facebook Page

Chair: Paul Exell (email: phone: 01793 703276)

Membership Secretary: Sarah McDermott

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Councillors' Quotes at Planning Committee - Cllr Wakefield

One of the ward councillors who spoke at Planning Committee is Steve Wakefield (Mannington/Western).  His focus was the Purton/Iffley Road link:
"What I want to say tonight, Chair, is all about the Purton/Iffley Road link, or the Great Western link road as it is sometimes referred to."

Cllr Wakefield reminds the Planning Committee that the Haydon 3 Legal Agreement (H3) for the Priory Vale development set out the off-site highways responsibilities of Swindon Borough Council.  One of these responsibilites was the Purton/Iffley Road link which would provide a dual carriageway from the bottom of Thamesdown Drive to the Bruce Street bridges to mitigate the impact of the additional traffic generated from the Northern Development Area (NDA).

It was considered an essential part of the infrastructure needed to deliver the NDA.

There is no specific mention of removing the Purton/Iffley Road link as a result of the Haydon 3 renegotiation, only a broad intention to move away from ‘scheme specific’ highway schemes.
"Now I could go on, but it’s basically a repeat - so I will just say, can I ask that the Purton-Iffley Road link remains a priority for this Council and that it should be identified and contained in the emerging core strategy."
In the Borough's 2009 core strategy (forward planning document identifying sites for development) the Purton/Iffley Road link is considered to be critical infrastructure to deliver Tadpole Farm.  However, in the 2011 core strategy it has disappeared and a Northern link road to the A419 is mentioned.  There are concerns that this will not alleviate the problem of traffic wanting to head towards the Town Centre from the West or the North through the NDA and onto the wider transport network.
There is mention in the Borough's forward plans or capital expenditure programme of the link even though Tadpole Farm has been approved with conditions - further S.106 discussions will not lead to this link being constructed.

On the 20th July 2009 SK Transport Planning (they are consultants to the developer at Tadpole Farm)write a letter to SBC concerning the highways model that informs the 2009 core strategy.  They write that:

the final strategy presented in the modelling report again includes the impact all the measures would have with the inclusion of the Purton Road Great Western Link Road.  This infrastructure proposal has significant cost and deliverability implications...We would therefore like to see a scenario that models all the proposed improvements ‘without’ the Purton Road Great Western Link Road.”
Questions that ORA members may want to ask are:

Why did the council spend £45m on road infrastructure at Wychelstowe (funded by the future sale of land) but will not commit the same amount of money to the Purton/Iffley Road link? Why did the council spend over £12m of Haydon 3 S.106 highways money on roundabout improvements along the Great Western Way?  How can further development in North Swindon be allowed to take place without this critical infrastructure?  Where is the evidence to prove that government funding options have been exhausted over the last 10 years?  What has been the impact of the highways infrastructure deficits on the people of Swindon as they travel to work and school?

Cllr Wakefield has one answer to the last question for us:
"I represent an area called Mannington-Western, which people probably know as the bottom part of Mead Way, Great Western Way and Bruce Street Bridges" and there are  "issues relating to traffic and gridlock. So I’d like to say, it would be really nice if people buy cars and just leave them on their drives instead of coming down those streets and roads into Mannington-Western."