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Individuals, landowners, developers and land agents are being encouraged to help inform the first stage of Swindon’s new Local Plan, which sets out how much development is needed in the Borough over the next 20 to 30 years.

Swindon Borough Council is required to undertake regular reviews to keep the Local Plan up to date.

Thousands of new homes have already been allocated within the current Swindon Local Plan, including at large sites such as the New Eastern Villages and Wichelstowe, but with the new Local Plan running up to at least 2040, a greater breadth of sites need to be identified to meet housing, employment and other needs in the future.

A ‘call for sites’ process is now currently underway to allow agents, developers, parish councils and the wider public to put forward sites or broad geographical locations in the Borough for development, redevelopment or improvement over the next 20 plus years to inform the new Local Plan.

The Council is seeking site suggestions for a wide range of land uses including:

  • residential (various types)
  • employment (various types)
  • retail and leisure, for example, shops, restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, supermarkets, cinemas and theatres
  • healthcare, for example, hospitals, GP clinics, dentists and pharmacies
  • green infrastructure and open spaces (various types)
  • energy
  • community, for example, nurseries, schools, colleges, museums, libraries, emergency service stations, places-of-worship and law courts
  • burial and cremation
  • minerals
  • waste

Once the ‘call for sites’ process has been undertaken, an updated Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) will be produced. This is a high-level land assessment which considers whether land is suitable, available and achievable for housing, employment and other uses.

The SHELAA is part of the Local Plan evidence base which looks at a range of issues including road, school and infrastructure capacity.

Once the evidence base is completed, a draft Local Plan will be produced for public consultation. This draft Local Plan will set out which land is proposed for future development.

Councillor Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Infrastructure, Transport and Planning, said: “It is really important we keep our Local Plan up to date as it is crucial to the future success of Swindon.

“A strong Local Plan ensures we have the right housing in the right places as well as the appropriate employment land to maintain our strong economy. The Local Plan includes how infrastructure to support new development will be delivered in a sustainable way.

“But we need the input of local people, parish councils, landowners and agents at this first initial stage so we can begin to identify where development could take place.

“This will help us to begin shaping a robust Local Plan with a five-year housing supply, which will help prevent speculative applications on land where residents do not want to see development.”

The ‘call for sites process is open until Friday, 31 March. For queries about the process please contact the Council’s Forward Planning team via e-mail: forwardplanning@swindon.gov.uk Sites can be submitted to the Council’s Planning team at: https://www.swindon.gov.uk/SHELAA