Back to the market drawing board

I’m pleased to read that a recent planning committee meeting has rejected plans for redevelopment of the tented market. I’m also delighted that they chose not to follow their officers’ advice.

Objectors consider that the proposal is contrary to the Central Area Action Plan Submission Paper. This is not the case. The Market Hall is referred to as a development opportunity site in the Action Plan, which states that any redevelopment should encompass Class A1 uses supplemented by Class A3 uses. It is considered that the proposal, which will provide both Class A1 and A3 uses, accords with this requirement.

A plan for four A3 (Restaurants & Cafes) and one A1 (Shops) units is clearly A3 uses supplemented by A1, not, as the planner claim, A1 supplemented by A3. The committee decision reflects this.

The proposal fails to comply with the provisions of the Swindon Borough Local Plan 2011 as it would result in a concentration of Class A3 uses that would be likely to detract from the vitality and viability of other Town Centre uses in the area.

The committee also rejected the rose-tinted view from their officer that I have previously commented on. Not for them

a light and contemporary design solution…. It responds well to the area and will be a positive catalyst to the future of the town centre regeneration.

The committee’s view is somewhat less favourable.

[It] would result in a building that fails to achieve a high standard of urban design, is unsympathetic to the local context by reason of its appearance and would fail to improve the character of the Town Centre.

I note the developer’s view of the reasons for the rejection.

[They] are as much a criticism of the council’s planning department, who recommended the application for approval, as a criticism of us.

I totally agree with that and am delighted that, for once, the councillors’ views agree with mine!