Abbey Farm, Swindon
The Abbey Farm site is located on the northern periphery of Swindon and is within Swindon Borough Council’s administrative area. The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty lies to the north and the A419 road runs close to the east. The site comprises agricultural land, with dissecting public rights of way which run through it, leading to a neighbouring settlement. It is a site which has sensitive environmental constraints and assets, but offers excellent connectivity to the north and south due to its proximity to the A419 road.
After obtaining outline planning permission in 2015 for our client, the site gained significant interest from house builders and was subsequently sold to Linden Homes and Redrow Homes. DPDS retained the position of planning consultant and project manager due to our extensive and unique knowledge of the site, the locality and the politics of the area.
The objective was to obtain reserved matters approval and the discharge of all relevant conditions for our clients. The team coordinated the strategy as well as managing the plans and data required to submit an application for reserved matters and to discharge conditions pertaining to the outline consent. This was achieved by mediating: the various specialists involved, the aspirations of the clients as well as those of the Ward and Parish Council Members, and the feedback from the Borough Council’s Officers all whilst abiding to the legal requirements within the Section 106 Agreement and conditions from the outline consent.
The DPDS team developed a strong rapport with the Council’s Officers involved, allowing information to be fed back to the clients and specialist consultants in a timely manner. DPDS engaged with the Parish Council at the beginning of the planning process, in order to inform it about the stage of the application and encompass its aspirations within the design and development of the site. This allowed a more democratic and local approach to the planning process and was encapsulated within the public exhibition DPDS organised and managed at the early stages of the reserved matters application.
The DPDS team identified that local planning policy and the politicians were requesting more executive sized and styled homes. This intelligence informed the design process and allowed our clients to increase their proposed floorspace.
Reserved matters approval was granted in October 2016 following the expert design from the Abbey Farm team, coordinated by DPDS. Now, the DPDS team are tasked to assist in the delivery of the site through the mediation of legal planning matters. DPDS are also still working closely with the Parish Council, attempting to devolve some of the public open space to be created through the Abbey Farm development into the management of the Parish, in order to encourage community engagement and interest in local assets.
The site is set to deliver 350 new homes as well as a school, shop and public open space incorporating sustainable urban drainage basins, allotments and two equipped areas for play. 105 of these homes are to be of an affordable nature, serving those in need of assistance.