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Developer's vision reveals impact of Starvehall homes

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 27, 2012

  • Starvehall Farm 2012

  • Ian Bickerton

  • Andrew McKinlay

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THIS is an artist's impression of how the development at Starvehall Farm will look.

The picture, by developers Nash, has been released after the plans were passed by councillors at Cheltenham Borough Council last week.

It gives an idea of plot sizes, and road layouts.

It came as planners were criticised for not listening to residents affected by new developments.

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Campaigners hit out at those tasked with deciding the applications.

Hundreds had protested about the proposals in Prestbury amid fears the area's infrastructure would not be able to cope with the 300 new homes.

But councillors were warned by planning officers that, if the application was turned down, it would probably be passed on appeal – costing the authority thousands of pounds in taxpayers' money.

Ann Barradell-Black, leader of Peps-Net (Protecting the Environment of Prestbury and Southam Network), said the decision flew in the face of localism – the Government driven move to ensure the voice of residents were heeded in any planning applications.

She said: "The key thing about this decision is it proves how hollow the promises of localism are. There was a mass of objections from residents and yet it had no impact at all on the decision.

"But the strength of feeling did not seem to have the effect that we had hoped in this case.

"In the case of Starvehall Farm, it seems councillors decided that there was no point in fighting it.

"It is a judgement that had to be made but it is devastating for people living around there.

"We are finding smarter ways of getting our voices heard.

"For the rest of us, it really shows how much more work needs to be done to make sure the voice of citizens is heard."

Her fears have been shared by Leckhampton councillor Ian Bickerton (LD), where residents are fighting plans for 1,300 homes along with a new primary school, open space the size of 16 football pitches, a GP surgery, shops and allotments.

He said: "How did taking the recreation ground make this better for future generations in Prestbury? Hundreds wrote in to object and plead with the council to save more of the green space and bring back the sports pitches.

"As a council we need to show more respect and basic human kindness."

Councillor Andrew McKinlay (Up Hatherley, LD) was on the planning committee which passed the application.

He said: "It is always very difficult when we have a conflict between what people on the ground want and what planning policy is."

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  • wildman  |  November 28 2012, 5:19PM

    so the floods havent taught the planners anything? There are plenty of empty premises around the county that could be developed instead of more buildings.

    Rate   2
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  • AndyPrestbury  |  November 27 2012, 10:08PM

    Can't we use the land we have concreted over already and lying idle for housing before we resort to digging even more of it up? I accept that we need more housing, but until we have depleted all of the brown field sites in Cheltenham there is no need to use green field sites. There are numerous sites in and around the town center, all of which can have living units (houses and/or flats). This may well not meet the complete target, but the council should be concentrating on getting these sites utilised. A field that isn't developed can still be used for recreational purposes and an asset for the community. An old factory that isn't developed is just wasted space and an eyesore.

    Rate   11
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  • verysceptical  |  November 27 2012, 9:52PM

    There will be a useful cut through when the race traffic snarls up Whad...sorry Prestbury. Must stop making that mistake. Easily done though...it is the same place isn't it?

    Rate   -1
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  • Takeaway22  |  November 27 2012, 9:37PM

    Residents of Prestbury - look forward to more floods! Who is going to take responsibility for the forthcoming damage that will be due? Councillor Andrew McKinlay? Not a chance. It's too much like hard work. The developers? No way! They have gained a big chunk of profit and done their job...the aftermath is no concern of theirs. It raises another question. Are there any councillors whose priority is to defend the people who they are supposed to represent or do they all fall at the first hurdle when money is involved?

    Rate   8
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  • justbecause  |  November 27 2012, 9:11PM

    Looks great and will be a benefit to the area and help satisfy the Cheltenham housing need. The built environment is ever changing and people need to accept it. Forwards ever backwards never. Thats progress........

    Rate   -2
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  • LegalEagle1  |  November 27 2012, 12:49PM

    We Tories must work together to ensure that judicial review and planning appeal procedures are properly curtailed so as to ensure effective residential development both in urban regions and the shires. This is essential if the beauty of the large old land estates are not to be compromised by being compulsorily acquired for development. Gladly, Downing Street has already promised legislation to prevent the endless quibbling that serves only to hinder the economy in this way.

    Rate   -6
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  • LegalEagle1  |  November 27 2012, 10:25AM

    Stop wallowing in petty parochial delusional self-interest. The country needs new homes.Grow up and get on with it.

    Rate   -4
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  • Matt1006  |  November 27 2012, 10:20AM

    Ah, well done, there it is. Why oh why aren't referred-to images included when the article is first published? A degree of proof-reading / checking of articles would help... Shame it's tiny. "It gives an idea of plot sizes, and road layouts" - not at the size viewable above, it doesn't. Sigh.

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  • Matt1006  |  November 27 2012, 10:06AM

    Well done TiG. How about including the artist's impression to which you refer...??? Just an idea.

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  • badger12  |  November 27 2012, 9:21AM

    What an interesting and unique development - it looks just like Ian Bickerton's face.

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