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Controversial plans in Oxford that make it harder to drive directly between different areas are not being considered in Swindon, council bosses have said. /p>

But the concept of '15-minute cities', where basic essential services are within walking or cycling distance of residential development, has already been used to inform new developments including the New Eastern Village scheme.

Swindon's civic leaders want to cut congestion by making it easier for people to go about their daily business without having to drive across the borough, rather than making it harder to drive between areas.

It comes after a massive protest against 15-minute cities was held in Oxford over the weekend.

Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, transport and planning, Gary Sumner, said the idea of having neighbourhood centres with facilities and services in easy reach is part of the planning for new developments.

He said: “New developments such as the New Eastern Villages are designed to offer short walking and cycling distance to everyday amenities such as schools, village centres and sports facilities.

"Wichelstowe is designed in much the same way and looking ahead we expect developments to provide positive travel plans to assist residents in easy access to public transport and everyday services.”

That thought was also endorsed by council leader David Renard.

The leader of Labour councillors Jim Robbins sees the same logic at work.

He said: “I think it’s a useful idea - but we have a lot of it in Swindon anyway, a lot of places have been built around a district centre so that there are shops and services near by.

"There’s an argument that some could be extended so there are more facilities there- but they do easiest.

"The whole idea of the New Eastern Village building them as villages each with a centre, with pubs shops and the local primary school is basically the same.”

Despite Nick Fletcher, MP for Don Valley in Yorkshire describing the idea as “an international socialist concept”, South Swindon’s Conservative MP Sir Robert Buckland is more sanguine.

He said: “I don’t buy the conspiracy theory stuff, but I am not convinced that local conditions in Swindon mean that we should be moving to traffic filters.

"I am more interested in 'smart city' technology that would help reduce congestion and help make things flow better around our town.

"Swindon has a proud history of innovation so the smart city concept could work for us.”

His North Swindon colleague Justin Tomlinson said he agreed with that.

Coun Sumner pointed out Swindon had already adopted some ‘smart’ technology at the new junctions at White Hart, Gable Cross, Oxford Road and Greenbridge intended to smooth the flows of traffic.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Aled Thomas

Quelle/Source: Swindon Advertiser, 20.02.2023

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