Baydon Parish Council Meeting 20th March 2017
News report by Barbara Furber
The Extra Ordinary planning meeting was opened by a welcome from Wiltshire Councillor James Sheppard, who asked the 18 residents present to “have patience and good manners, to let everyone have their say”. Also to remember they would only be invited to speak during Public Question Time (PQT), as per Standing Orders.
The meeting was chaired by Cllr Tamsin Witt and all five councillors were present.
A planning application for 2380 dwellings, local centres, care accommodation, 2 primary schools, sports facilities, engineering works, green infrastructure and others plus new accesses from the A420 at Eastern Villages Swindon, was considered.
It was felt that the development would probably have little impact on Baydon except maybe increased traffic.
Cllr Witt then gave a summary of work done towards traffic calming since 1960, stating that although no one solution will be liked by all villagers; there has always been a village desire to slow the traffic down. An illustrated sheet was also provided with information.
Cllr Witt also read out objections to the proposed buildout from various people and gave the Parish Councils replies. The main concerns were the impact on the village shop, and access to and from Manor Farm, home of Mr & Mrs Norman. The visibility from their drive is poor at the moment. Both Highways and the Safety Audit advised cutting the hedge.
Emails received from the School supported the project in conjunction with their own “Take action on School journey”. The School propose to make the building more visible and aim for a 20mph zone. Other supportive emails had been received.
Public Question Time then followed.
Mrs Veronica Norman said that she had no intention of taking her hedge out. It has been cut back each year and has remained the same size for 45 years.
Mrs April Jukes said that the statistic given about the impact of the first Chicane were wrong as the cables were laid in different places each time. The clerk felt that Mrs Jukes was being loud and aggressive and asked her to cease. Wiltshire Councillor Sheppard stepped in at that time to calm things down.
Mr Alan Brown asked why statistics only quoted 80% of the speed. Wiltshire Councillor Sheppard replied that the law states that 80 percentile by recorded. It is not an average speed which can be much lower. Mr Brown then asked why the 30mph signs could not be moved outwards. Wiltshire Councillor Sheppard said that unfortunately it is not legal. The Parish Council have spent many hours arguing with Highways over this, but it is against the law of the land.
Mr Colin Philips asked if ramps could be installed. The reply was that at present the speed through the village is too high. That is why buildouts are being proposed first, to get the speed down.
Mr Peter Hardacre brought up the subject of a pavement towards the Cricket Field. Highways at present are only willing to provide a virtual pavement (one painted on the road). It was stated that the Cricket Field was private and the path through it was not a public footpath.
Mr Rob Butcher voiced his concerns about parking for the shop and pub once the buildout was in place. Cllr Witt said that she had sat in her car several times at the place where the buildout would be, to see reaction of other drivers. It did not stop them parking at the shop. Other Parish Councillors had done the same thing.
Mr Kevin Witt said that he was in favour of the buildout to slow the traffic down, as he had witnessed several near misses as both the young and old tried to cross to visit the shop.
Mrs Sue Coyle said that she supported Mrs Norman. She lives opposite and was worried about people, particularly young children approaching the road from the alley. She felt that Manor Lane would become a rat-run because people would try to avoid the buildouts. The arguments continued from the floor from Mrs Norman and Mrs Debbie Moxon.
Mrs Jane Ottan asked if the red rumble strips are to be repaired. Wiltshire Councillor Sheppard reported that Highways are no longer doing red tarmac because it needs constant maintenance. Mrs Ottan also asked if the Community Traffic Group had ceased to exist. She said that she would be willing to help if it was re-instated. Ms Alison Tomkins said that she had been part of the group and knew that the main thing the group had been trying to address was the speeding problem. The law dictates what we can do so at some point there has to be a compromise or forget the whole thing.
Public Question Time was closed.
Cllr Kevin Howell said that he agreed with Mrs Norman as he had driven out of her drive several times and found it dangerous at the moment. Visibility would have to be improved, he added.
Cllr Sarah Chidgey said that it was very difficult but the council were here to serve the whole village. The safety report said that access was difficult but did not state the buildout should not go ahead. She added that she struggled to understand why the Normans would not cut back the hedge and added that a mirror could also be erected. The clerk reported that next year’s budget could afford a mirror and the cost of cutting back the hedge, if the Normans agreed.
Cllr Brian Billington was also concerned that the village would lose the funding if it withdrew now.
Cllr Amy Bryan felt that the buildout was the best proposal on the table.
Cllr James Lawrence asked if the plan was approved would it be possible to ensure as little disruption to the shop as possible during the building works
Cllr Howell asked if there had been any response to the “funnel” idea instead of a buildout. Cllr Witt replied that any change to the plan would mean the funding would be dropped and the council would have to start again. It is this or nothing.
Cllr Howell said that he didn’t like being held to ransom by Highways.
Cllr Bryan proposed that the application be accepted to ensure a safer environment for the village as a whole.
Cllr Chidgey asked that it be minuted that she agreed as there seemed to be no other option available.
All Councillors finally agreed that the work should go ahead.
The meeting closed at 9.30pm and Wiltshire Councillor Sheppard thanked everyone for attending.