december 20, 2018 08:14am

Blunsdon PC SHELAA response

Following the drop in session on 8th December the PC has sent the following response to SBC SHELAA.


A drop-in session was held on 8th December 2018 at BVH, approx. 100 residents attended to receive information and ask questions.
50 comments were left by residents, some 60% relating to traffic issues:
A419 being at capacity, with queuing from slip roads at peak times – extension and new junction at Kingsdown and Castle Eaton required
Cold Harbour junction being at capacity, with significant queuing at peak times – expansion and improvements required
Village traffic, volumes and speeds unacceptable, being used as rat run to avoid hotspots

In addition, the following comments were made:
Development should be more like TGV – self-contained villages
Non-Coalescence areas must be maintained
Technology particularly Broadband must improve
Public rights of way must be protected from development
Blunsdon Hill speed limit should be 30mph
Traffic calming around Village required – some works planned for consultation in conjunction with SBC
Improved capacity for GP surgery, schools must be delivered along with greater employment opportunities
Flooding concerns, particularly in Lower Village need - work needing to reduce incidence.

Concern for trees, wildlife and conservation – these must be protected
Communication between SBC, Parish and developers must improve. Collaborative thinking and delivery between Planning and Highways must be a priority when considering development.
Blunsdon Village identity must be preserved along with the Conservation Areas. Significant buffers between any new development and existing Conservation areas must be delivered.

The following are PC site specific comments:
0005 Land adj to Holdcroft Lane – Concern for Bridleway/footpath as partially owned by homeowners
0023 Land South of High Street – Indicative plans had bungalows. These are not shown for Phase 1 the PC would like to see them in Phase 2.
0033 Land South of B4019 – Non-Coalescence area. TPO`s are in place. PC have been approached by Landowner and the PC agreed that they would not support any development on this site.
0036 Land at Turnpike Road – Non-Coalescence area.
0048 Land North of Blunsdon – Escarpment slope should be indicative Non-Coalescence area, vital to maintain Village separation.
In conjunction with 0030 opportunity to create “Thames Vale Village” subject to effective access and egress to A419. Employment land should also be included to promote job creation. There is need to work closely with LEP and HE.
0051 Part of Land at Sams Lane – Work with developer to ensure area of Non-Coalescence is maintained and consider possible recreation usage.
0062 Land South of Highworth Road – Non-Coalescence area.
0197 Beside 1 Ermin Street – agree ideal for Cold Harbour improvements.
0299 Land South of Broadbush – agree non-availability, area of Non- Coalescence.
0300 -Land East of A419, North of Cold Harbour – included for site allocation in NHP, small scale development.
0377 Upper Burytown Farm – The PC do not support development of this site. There are 2 public rights of way across the site, which also contains ancient monument – Castle Hill Fort. The views from the East will be significantly affected. There should be no coalescence with NC5 Kingsdown. Escarpment slope should be indicative Non-Coalescence area. Village separation is vital, existing woodland should be enhanced to provide greater screening and buffer to Village. Stubbs Hill ACC should also be enahanced.
0379,0030, 0032 TGV extension North – see comments for 0048
0403 Blunsdon Land ltd - included for site allocation in NHP, small scale development.
0404 Long Field Blunsdon Hill – see 0048

december 20, 2018 08:11am

Gridlock in Blunsdon!

This document has been produced by the PC and was displayed at the recent drop in session. This document is part of the PC response to SBC SHELAA.

Blunsdon Parish Council Information 8th Dec 2018
The destruction of the village of Broad Blunsdon could be the price.
According the latest information your Parish Council has received, mainly from published and referenced sources, such as Swindon Borough Council and Highways England, the plan to build 10,000 homes along the A419, which includes our Parish, are under consideration, with the consequent creation of complete traffic gridlock in Swindon and the destruction of our village, the winner of Best of the Best Kept Village in Wiltshire1.

The recently published SBC Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA)2,3 if approved will add 10,000 homes along the A419 and all within our Parish, but with absolutely no viable infrastructure planned. The planned Kingsdown Village bridge4 will lead from one traffic pinch point, the centre of Highworth, to two others, the A4311 Cricklade Road /A4198 Thamesdown Drive going North and A4311/B4006 at the Moonrakers going South. This bridge will actually create congestion, not reduce it.

What about the A419 you may well ask? Regular users, such as Residents of Blunsdon, already know that, at peak times, they are actually queuing to get off the A419 at the Turnpike Junction, as it cannot cope with current traffic. Especially now that the adjacent development of Tadpole Farm Village and the completion of new housing in Blunsdon St Andrew is joining the junction from both Lady Lane and up Blunsdon Hill. This represents a major accident risk on what is a major 70mph dual carriageway in addition to extensive journey delays.

What is more, concerns are rising that the emergency response units such as fire, ambulance and police will experience unacceptable delays, putting Blunsdon Residents lives at risk.

The Highways England Strategic Road Network Initial Report (Dec.2017)5 states that there are no plans whatsoever for A419 improvements, in particular, to deal with its increasing capacity.

So, what are the problems that are not being addressed by either the Swindon Borough Council or the UK Government?

Swindon’s Burden – the A419
For Swindon, if the M4 is the main artery, the A419 is the pulmonary vein. While it can be argued that the A419 has brought economic wealth to Swindon, the chaotic ribbon development that has been allowed along the road and the poorly designed, cheap as possible junctions, are contributing an emerging gridlock problem, which will eventually damage the Swindon economy.

The A419/417 is an important part to the UK Government’s Strategic Road Network (SRN)6, as part of the Midland to Wales and Gloucestershire (MWG) region. It is also the only direct link between the M4 and M5 between London and Bristol.

The importance given to this link can be seen from the planned £250m to £500m investment to eliminate the single lane A417 Air Balloon roundabout7 and to make it continuous dual carriageway.

A report estimates that will increase traffic flow by 30%8 which is great for Gloucester and Cheltenham, but not for Swindon. In 2014 a report was published by the former Highways Agency showing that, of the10 busiest sections of SRN in the MWG region, six are on the A419 through Swindon, as follows:

2nd M4 J15 and A4259 Commonhead Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) – 27,675
3rd A419 between A4259 and M4 J 15 AADT – 27,328
5th A419 between A4259 and A420 White Hart AADT – 26,488
6th A419 between A361 and A420 AADT – 25,309
7th A419 between A420 and A4259 AADT – 25,043
8th A419 between A420 and A361 AADT – 24,855
What is more, the other four busiest sections are on the M54 - A MOTORWAY

In the absence of any response from SBC and Highways England to our request for an impact analysis of the effect of the A417 Air Balloon improvements, we have made our own analysis based upon our common sense and daily experiences of travel. This is based upon what we could glean from the Highways England Traffic Information statistical data. .

We have also factored in what we think will be the effects of Swindon’s Local Plan Review housing growth, where, from the information we have, there is no planned infrastructure.

To keep matters simple, we are only providing figures for the section between the A4259 Commonhead and the A429/4312 White Hart junctions, as it is logical to see that the figures will be reflected in other sections through Swindon.

A419 Traffic Increase between the A4259 and the A420—both directions 6,9
Date AADT % increase
HA 2014 MWG SRN Report* 51,531
2014** 57,276 +11.1
2015** 61,478 +7.3%
2016** 61,914 +0.7%
2017** 61,748 -0.3%
After A417 Air Balloon dualling*** 80,272 +30.0%
Swindon Housing NEV (8K), Wichelstowe (3K), SHELA(10K)**** 99,172 +23.5%
* Apr 2012 to Mar 2013
** Highways England Official Statistics9
*** Gloucestershire County Council estimate8
*** Collectively 21,000 homes with 0.9 cars per household = 18,900 (2011 RAC Foundation)

With this level of traffic flow, with the existing number of junctions and with the dangerous cross over sections between Blunsdon and Cricklade, the A419 will have peak capacities that result in complete gridlock in Swindon and could even cause major delays on the M4.

The Role of Highways England
We cannot understand the position of this Government Agency, which has, in some cases, intervened to protect the Swindon section of the A419. There are no plans with this increased capacity, to improve Swindon junctions, or to widen the roads and bridges. So, will the Agency start to intervene, as it can by statute, and oppose ribbon development along the SRN5?

The current lack of infrastructure planning by Swindon Borough Council is disgraceful.
The silence from Highways England is not understandable.
Your Parish Council will increasingly focus on these shortcomings.

How can you help?
It may be somewhat old fashioned, but writing to your MP is effective. So, if you want to protect your village start writing and let Justin Tomlinson MP know what you do NOT want----10,000 new homes and traffic gridlock.


december 13, 2018 08:29am


The next PC Meeting is on Monday 17th December 2018, 7.30pm at BVH.
The Agenda is shown below:

1. Apologies for absence.
2. Declarations of interest.
3. Minutes of Fourteenth Ordinary Meeting
4. Matters arising from the minutes
5. Finance
a. Review of Hire Charges
b. Draft Precept Budget 2019/20
6. Planning decisions advised by Swindon.
7. Planning applications deposited for comment:
S/HOU/18/1856 - Conversion of garage into living accommodation.
At: 37 Minerva Heights, Swindon SN26 8AB
S/HOU/18/1763 - Conversion of garage into living accommodation.
At: The Old Police House, 38 Ermin Street Blunsdon Swindon SN26 8AA
8. SHELAA - response to SBC
9. Neighbourhood Plan
9. Correspondence
10. Committee reports
11. Parish Matters
12. Key Messages
13. Summons to attend next meeting: 7th January 2018
Next meetings – Sixteenth Ordinary Meeting 7th January 2019 Blunsdon Village Hall
Seventeenth Ordinary Meeting 21st January 2019 Blunsdon Village Hall
Parish Councillors are reminded of their responsibilities in ensuring entries in the Register of Financial and Other Interests are updated as necessary, and the Monitoring Officer is informed of the nature of any gift or hospitality received in connection with their role of Parish Councillor, to the value of £50 or more, within 28 days of receipt.

december 04, 2018 05:09am