Wednesday’s East Wichel Community Association meeting was once again dominated by discussion of Swindon Borough Council’s proposed parking restrictions for East Wichel. Most of this discussion covered items discussed before. A decision on whether the proposed parking restrictions are introduced is now expected by the end of October. The further delay is a result of the council cabinet member for Economy, Regeneration and Skills — a portfolio that includes parking — having asked council officers to make revise the detail of their proposals.
But what took everyone at the meeting by surprise was the revelation that there will be restrictions on driving along East Wichel Way in addition to the ‘bus gates’ already implemented. The meeting was told that this has been in the over-arching plan for Wichelstowe, the design code, since before development started. We’ve checked, and indeed it is. A copy of the design code should have been included with the deeds for all who purchased houses new in East Wichel.
In Book 1 of the Wichelstowe Design Code the restrictions to be introduced on East Wichel Way are described on pages 24 and 28.
6.1.3 Whilst strong emphasis is placed on the need to promote sustainable methods of transport as real alternatives to the use of the motor car, it is recognised that the car must be accommodated, but without being allowed to dominate the design. In this respect particularly on the High Street, private vehicles are allowed to ‘visit’ the High Street and are allowed onto the STAr route but only for a short distance. This is explained in Section 6.3 Concept for the High Street. No vehicle access into or out of properties along the STAr route is allowed.
East Wichel Way is part of the STAr route, the Sustainable Transport Artery.
6.3.5 Along the length of the Bus Route, a system has been created to allow private vehicles to come onto the High Street, to ensure that it gets enough traffic and activity to be suitable for its purpose. The strategy is for the Bus Route to be shared with cars on alternating blocks, employing a “left on / left off” restriction for private vehicles, as set out in Figure 6.3.11 and 6.3.12. Private vehicles can “visit” the High Street for the length of a block, and then return to the street system of the residential quarters. To ensure that private vehicle traffic is suitably dispersed, cars are also permitted to cross the High Street.
Enforcement of these restrictions would be a police matter. Given the recent spate of break-ins in East Wichel, some might think the police have better things to do with their time.