500 Cheltenham fringe homes rejected on breach of new core strategy

Plans for 500 homes on Cheltenham's southern edge have been refused permission after councillors decided that the scheme would contravene the area's newly adopted joint core strategy.

Chargrove Lane, Cheltenham (pic: Jonathan Billinger via Geograph)
Chargrove Lane, Cheltenham (pic: Jonathan Billinger via Geograph)

An application submitted by consultants Hunter Page Planning on behalf of developer Redcliffe Homes to develop land between Up Hatherley Way and Chargrove Lane was refused by Tewkesbury Borough Council’s planning committee yesterday.

The proposal, lodged last August, sought outline permission for up to 500 dwellings, a 1,250 square metre local centre, new informal and formal recreation space and a means of access.

Among its 13 reasons for refusal, the council said that the proposal represents "inappropriate development in the green belt which would compromise its open character, appearance and function".

Its decision notice said that the proposed development "does not meet the strategy for the distribution of new development in Tewkesbury Borough and the application site is not an appropriate location for new residential development".

The notice said the development "would result in an unwarranted and significant intrusion into a valued rural landscape which would harm the character and appearance of the locality" and that it "fails to respond positively to, and respect the character of, the site and its surroundings".

It also said the applicants had failed to show that the scheme would not have an unacceptable impact on the strategic or local highway networks, or that it would not add to flood risk on or off the site.

Other grounds for refusal set out in the notice refer to concerns over the scheme’s impact on heritage assets, archaeological remains, a traditional orchard, a special area of conservation and a site of special scientific interest, along with a lack of provision for affordable homes and community facilities.

Councillors heard that the proposal had attracted almost 800 objections from local residents and a petition with 843 signatures. Objections were also lodged by four local parish councils, Cheltenham Borough Council’s planning policy team and local MPs Alex Chalk and Laurence Robertson.

Peter Shield of the Hatherley and Shurdington Triangle Action Group said he was delighted with the council’s decision. "This area is regarded as valued landscape. Its location right under the Cotswold escarpment is particularly special," he said.

The joint core strategy was formally adopted by Tewkesbury Council, Cheltenham Council and Gloucester City Council last month.

Planning permission was granted just before Christmas by communities secretary Sajid Javid for urban extensions at Innsworth and Twigworth, north of Gloucester, in line with strategic allocations proposed in the finalised strategy.

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