Campaigns that want Highworth’s old golf course to be preserved as an open green space will have the chance to make their case to councilors tomorrow.
A petition signed by more than 4,600 people has been handed over to Swindon Borough Council, which is urging authorities to remove the allocation of up to 30 per cent of the old track between Cricklade and Swindon roads for 350 houses from its revised local plan and to to “keep the golf course green.”
This means that signature organizer April Thrush will be able to speak at tomorrow’s joint council meeting, and members will subsequently debate the issues.
The petition states: “The current local plan to develop 350 houses on the old golf course will have a detrimental effect not only on the natural landscape, but will have a significant negative effect on the health and well-being of both residents and visitors.
It says that it will be an advantage in the long run to keep the space open for people to enjoy and exercise in.
“Parks and green spaces provide over £ 34 billion in direct health and wellness benefits to UK residents each year,” it says. “Any removal of green space is likely to cost more in public health costs. Investing in landscapes will counteract the rising cost of health care.
“Green areas are a more sustainable way to manage the health of our society and reduce the pressure on primary health care. More than ever before, the NHS is under pressure in 2021.”
It adds: “Even if one utilizes only 30 percent as proposed, it would have an effect of reducing the naturalness of the landscape, something that is highly valued by society.
The development will also add an estimated 427 cars to an already congested Cricklade or Redlands Road.
“Highworth surgery is already struggling to keep up with requests for appointments, and with a further 600 homes planned for Blunsdon, which also currently shares this facility, it would not be able to provide the additional level of care required. .
“We need you as our elected representatives to protect the local green space known as the old golf course. We want to ensure that this piece of land is protected, not only for today but also for future generations to enjoy.”
Many people living in the city and city councilors, including former members of the ruling Conservative cabinet, are concerned about the proposed local plan, which describes how the city could develop until 2036, is being changed.
It proposes that more than 800 houses can be built in Highworth over the next 15 years.
The plan is being updated in light of another public hearing, which closed in October, before being sent to the Secretary of State for leveling and housing for public exams next year.
If approved by the Planning Inspector, it will take effect later in 2022.