Completion of Wichelstowe district centre moves a step closer

By Nick Batten on 22 February, 2024

Plans for the future expansion of the district centre in one of Swindon’s boldest housing developments have now been submitted.

Swindon Borough Council has put forward designs for the remainder of the Wichelstowe District Centre either side of the canal which forms the centrepiece of the flagship housing development.

The mixed-use scheme, designed by global multidisciplinary practice BDP, will be located just south of Waitrose and Hall and Woodhouse, respectively.

Proposals for Canalside West, adjacent to Hall and Woodhouse, include a larger block of apartments alongside Peglars Way, a health centre, pharmacy, community centre and space for offices. This will be complemented by a second block including four units which could be developed with retail or restaurant uses with 12 apartments above.

Canalside West would also include a public square which has been designed to accommodate markets or events.

Although the development of Canalside West is still some years away, the designs have been submitted to comply with deadlines set out in the Wichelstowe outline planning consent and in order to gain consent for the layout and uses of the site.

The Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) has provided feedback on the designs and will consider the delivery of health provision at Wichelstowe as part of the ongoing review of health service delivery across the region.

Canalside East will be located on the triangle of land between the Waitrose car park and the canal and is proposed to include a block of 14 apartments alongside a gym with space for a café adjacent to the canal footbridge. This scheme can be delivered more quickly than Canalside West and, if the plans are approved, developers will be sought to bring forward the site.

The thousands of new homes at Wichelstowe are being built by the UK’s largest housebuilder Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes in partnership with Swindon Borough Council.

It is one of the largest local authority joint venture agreements in the country which will deliver 3,000 new homes over the next 20 years, along with new schools and community facilities. The 250-hectare site on the southern edge of Swindon will include extensive open spaces, nature conservation areas, playing pitches and allotments.

Councillor Kevin Small, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said, “Canalside is the focal point for the Wichelstowe development and we want to create a vibrant place for the wider community with facilities to match.

“Waitrose, Hall and Woodhouse and the new schools were important foundations for the district centre, but these latest designs, if approved, will help bring the future development of Canalside to life.”

Gordon Muvuti, Director of Place – Swindon, at Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said, “Planning for the future health needs of residents coming to live in Wichelstowe is an important priority for the ICB, and we are continuing to work with Swindon Borough Council, as well as local GP practices, as part of the early stages of this process.”

Pictured above: A CGI image of what Canalside West and East could look like