New Eastern Villages green spaces
It is expected the Nature Park will consist of ‘River Meadows’ and a visitor centre, as identified in the adopted NEV Green Infrastructure SPD. The Nature Park will provide open space and biodiversity areas that will serve as the ‘green heart’ of development at the NEV. It will optimise the potential to integrate and enhance with the existing flood plain, and deliver a range of accessible and integrated linear green routes connecting to every village. The green linear routes will be characterised by important existing natural features such as hedgerows, trees, grazed pastures, grassland, marshland, woodland areas, and other identified open spaces. This mixture of open and vegetated areas, connected by formal footpaths, boardwalks and viewing platforms will provide legible nature trails and integrated green routes, facilitating ease of access for the community and visitors.
The visitor centre, centrally located within the River Meadows (between the Great Stall East village and Lotmead village), will provide a place where people can truly engage in conservation, the natural environment and local heritage.
See the Great Western Community Forest webpage for further information.
Wiltshire & Berkshire Canal Trust
Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal Trust (W&BCT) is working to reinstate the original canal branches as constructed in 1810. The original canal route passed through the centre of Swindon and cannot currently be reinstated. An alternative safeguarded alignment has therefore been agreed which will enable W&BCT to construct a new canal link to the south east of Swindon. The safeguarded canal alignment passes through the NEV development and is illustrated on the Masterplan.
Where new NEV infrastructure intersects the safeguarded canal alignment, appropriate structures will be provided such that the canal route is uncompromised. In locations where the canal route crosses existing public rights of way, Swindon Borough Council would expect any future canal planning applications to mitigate its impact on this existing infrastructure.
The indicative route on the Local Plan Policies Map (NC3) illustrates the broad alignment of the canal, however, this may need to be altered due to unknown site specific constraints which may come to light through the detailed design stage. Until this stage, sites should safeguard this indicative alignment from development.
Further details can be found on the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal Trust website.