Pickard’s Small Field, Gorse Hill, Swindon :: Shared Description

Written by Brian Robert Marshall

The field was, once, allotments. Disused for some years, it is still owned by Swindon Borough Council. It's a long story but earlier this year (2012) there was a possibility that the land would be sold for development by a company called Haboakus fronted by the TV presenter and developer Kevin McCLoud. For several reasons the project foundered and the company have felt it necessary to call it a day. McCloud has spoken to the local newspaper (Swindon Advertiser) who reported as follows on 15 June 2012:

"TV PRESENTER Kevin McCloud has spoken out after his plans to build 241 homes in Gorse Hill were scrapped.

The controversial £30m project was pulled at the beginning of this week due to unforeseen delays and issues.

Residents and ward councillors started a campaign when Haboakus announced plans in February to build 241 homes, including 106 affordable homes, on former allotments at Pickards Small Field and Kembrey Grass.

Swindon Council’s Cabinet agreed to dispose of the sites to the developer, subject to conditions being met, including the scheme receiving planning permission.

Haboakus began consultation to develop the plans but suspended all work after Swindon Council passed a motion seeking to conduct its own pre-application consultation.

Mr McCloud has come out saying that he still believes in the project but that his celebrity status made it difficult.

He said: “If anything, being in the public eye made it worse for me.

“I saw a document where someone from the local authority said, ‘We can't possibly be seen to be pandering to Kevin McCloud.’ I think they made it harder for me to gain planning consents.”

Last year his 42 eco-homes at the Triangle welcomed their first residents after initial opposition.

Mr McCloud though has said that although the project did not make a profit the people who live there now are happy.

“Some people hated what I was doing, and told me so,” he said.

“It was quite an eyeopener. Usually, people are very nice to me. I'm not used to being shouted at in the street.

“This isn’t about making money.

“It’s about creating a vision, about giving people homes they deserve.

“When I go back to Swindon and see these families who are truly happy, I think, We got it right. Not 100 per cent, but right enough to make a difference.”

As far as I know the land is still intended for development and maybe a more hard-nosed outfit will take it on. For now, the land remains largely derelict and used mainly by dog-walkers, and the local BANANA tendency can rest easy.
by Brian Robert Marshall
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7 images use this description:

SU1586 : Pickard's Small Field, Gorse Hill, Swindon (4) by Brian Robert Marshall
SU1586 : Pickard's Small Field, Gorse Hill, Swindon (1) by Brian Robert Marshall
SU1586 : Pickard's Small Field, Gorse Hill, Swindon (5) by Brian Robert Marshall
SU1586 : Pickard's Small Field, Gorse Hill, Swindon (3) by Brian Robert Marshall
SU1586 : Pickard's Small Field, Gorse Hill, Swindon (6) by Brian Robert Marshall
SU1586 : Pickard's Small Field, Gorse Hill, Swindon (7) by Brian Robert Marshall
SU1586 : Pickard's Small Field, Gorse Hill, Swindon (2) by Brian Robert Marshall


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Created: Fri, 15 Jun 2012, Updated: Sat, 16 Jun 2012

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2012 Brian Robert Marshall, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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