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Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Councillors' Quotes at Planning Committee - Cllr Martin

Councillor Nick Martin (Shaw) contributed to an article about the Ridgeway Farm appeal in the Swindon Link in March 2012.  He linked Tadpole Farm's go ahead to the defence of development at Ridgeway: 
"The point is that the infrastructure for Tadpole Farm is in place and it will satisfy the needs of people who travel north on the A419 and to M4 Junction 15.  I believe the number trying to access the west wil be limited.  Swindon Council can make demands on [the developer] to deliver the necessary infrastructure improvements". 
At Planning Committee Cllr Martin talks about how development in the North has affected West Swindon and how one of the road links between North and West Swindon should be severed:
"As residents of West Swindon, I and my fellow residents have suffered because of the northern development and the lack of infrastructure roads such as the Iffley Road link to Thamesdown we in West Swindon have traffic flushing through our roads, we have Mead Way bogged down. I mean ideally, if it was at all possible, I would like to close the old Purton Road link somewhere just short of Thamesdown Drive and tell the folks up there to find their own way someplace else.

But then it can’t be done, it would be really nice, it would change the whole dynamic of driving around West Swindon. It would also open up Mead Way wonderfully. 
Maybe I ought to actually blow the road up, but there you go".
Cllr Martin accepts responsibility for members and residents' upset:
" ....many of the things that have been raised as criticisms tonight by members and people from the community frankly are criticisms of ourselves...In many respects the developer will stand on their head and whistle Dixie if we ask them to. It is down to us to take the time to build a primary school in this development. 
Clearly the whole of the renegotiation of the section 106 monies and all the key infrastructure aspects are between us and our officers, and negotiations seem to be quite a long way down the road".  
Cllr Martin talks about how impressive the Tadpole Farm drawing is and how impressive the open spaces are:
"But when I look at that plan up there I see two things and they are quite important to me, because I have always been proud about the amount of public open space and green space in West Swindon, and also the fact that I and my colleagues been able to expand that by creating Shaw Forest. 
But if you look at that drawing tonight there are thundering great pieces of public open space and park land and areas where you will really get small and furry animals running around happily.  Also the water points there are clearly designed for the situation and they clearly will work and can be expected to work, as water levels in those lakes will rise and fall depending on the downpour that’s coming in on the tarmacced areas. 
So this is quite an impressive application."
He moves approval (without conditions):
"With these recommendations here tonight, the depth of writing in these papers before us, it’s impossible and invidious for us to actually proclaim refusal tonight.  So we actually have to fight to get the very best for everybody out of this application, look for our officers to negotiate the very best 106 agreements that can achieved and also to applaud what has been put forward so far and what ‘s been negotiated so far  - I move approval...."
Later Cllr Martin clarifies his position after the Head of Planning summarises the proposal for approval with conditions put forward by Cllr Elliott:
"The only point I can agree with you on this is there seems to be a link between outline approval and the section 106 agreement..  You know, we actually have to have a section 106 agreement for the outline approval to fly, take off, run a way whatever you want to call it...."
 Questions ORA members may wish to ask:

Will there be an impact on Mead Way and other roads running through West Swindon?  Why does Cllr Martin say that numbers accessing the West will be limited but then say that Mead Way is bogged down with traffic from the North?  Where is the evidence base that Cllr Martin uses to extrapolate these opposing arguments from?  Why is Oakhurst so quiet now that traffic from the West has been cut off by the Tadpole Lane bridge maintenance works? Is a lot of traffic accessing the North from the West? If Cllr Martin believes that the Purton/Iffley Road link is so important why has it been removed from the Core Strategy?  Is it OK for local roads in the North Swindon to be bogged down in traffic if it is not OK for West Swindon?  Why shouldn't Ridgeway Farm go ahead but Tadpole Farm should?  Is this just a matter of where the S.106 monies end up?  Do we accept development is harmful in Wiltshire as the infrastructure is not in place but in Swindon the harm is acceptable when the infrastructure is not in place?  Is S.106 a sufficient mitigation for lack of infrastructure?  What is Swindon Borough Council going to do about the lack of infrastructure?  Will Swindon Borough Council keep developing in the North West without it?  Should development be the highest quality we can achieve with all the infrastructure in place?  What kind of future do we want to see for our children?