I grew up in Swindon but left 20 years ago. I have been looking online at the housing development at Wichelstowe which looks really nice and very affordable.
Anyone live there? What is it it like? I see that the primary school opens next year, does anyone know if there is likely to be places for latecomers? Also what is Old Town like for young families as I guess that would be our nearest central point. I'm not keen on Swindon town centre and never thought I would move back but there is something about this development which is making me think that moving back might be a good idea.
Also I guess Commonweal would be the local secondary school, does anyone have any views on it?
Have you looked on the Wichelstowe community website? because I think schools are a potential problem at the moment. I am not sure that Commonweal and Ridgeway will have spaces - both are good schools, although they are building a primary I am not sure if a secondary is due as well?
Some of the houses are really close to the M4. I don't like the way it is sandwiched between Wroughton and Old Town, yet not really part of either. I suppose it is still early days though as it looks like a huge development.
Swindon town centre is still a dump, but is supposedly being regenerated. I personally don't rate old town much, but that said, I live the other side of town so have little to do with it.
We have put an offer on a house at Wichelstowe, I love it... It has a real villagey feel. The position of our potential house means that we can't really hear the motorway (well no more than I can hear the a419 from Covingham) I am really looking forward to it growing as a community. I'm sure I read on some of the minutes from the meetings that Ridgeway was going to be the secondary school for the area. When the whole development is finished there are going to be 3 schools however I am not sure what ages they will all be for. We did loads of research into the area and it appears that the development as a whole has been well thought out including the issues regarding flooding.
thedollshouse see my post above - Secondary school in Wootton Bassett is fantastic. Also three good primary schools - Longleaze, St Bartholomew's C of E, and County Infants/Noremarsh. All primaries are at capacity though I believe, but the Royal Wootton Bassett Academy has plenty of places in all years. It's judged Outstanding by Ofsted.
There has been some negative publicity about Wichelstowe saying it's a large development built without adequate facilities/infrastructure. There was a whole programme on it on BBC Inside Out West last year - I doubt it is still viewable now, but the gist was the development is only partially finished, commitments to infrastructure have not been honoured and it is a bit of a ghost town in places. I don't know what the truth is personally but there's a lot of discussion about it here
We went to have a look at some houses over there and one of the first things we asked was about flooding. They had to do a lot to the land and put in a lot of flood defences before they were allowed to build - I guess the recent weather would have tested them, they seemed to have held up. However, we decided against moving there as my concern is that its a massive planned development but future developments do seemed to have been put on the back burner a little due, I guess to the current economic climate. When I visited there still weren't even any local shops there and it just seemed like a bit of a ghost town; my worry was, is there a chance it might stay like that? Having said that, the houses do seem nice and I like that they're not all the same as each other - they're also very affordable.
Sometimes these forums really bug me. I live in Wichelstowe for over a year now. It is a beautiful, quiet place to live. There are no floods (even in the recent flood warnings!) and it is not noisy. There is a real sense of community and people are nice to eachother. I wake up to the sound of ducks quacking on the canal outside my house. I chat to my neighbours and I go to the community meetings. I find it incredible that all this 'negative press' is always from people who do not live in the area! It is very easy to be a sheep and follow others, unless you live here or have done more than simply read about it, please don't bother making assumptions!