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Hester's Way pasture to be concreted over to create 70-space car park near GCHQ

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 25, 2013

By LAURA ENFIELD

  • CLEARING CONGESTION: The car park developer believes it will help workers at GCHQ and, right, stop parking in nearby roads

  • GV. Residents say parked cars in Fiddlers Green Lane, Hester?s Way, are making it dangerous to drive down the road. picture by Michael Purton 24-10-12

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PLANS for a 70-space car park near GCHQ have been approved, despite concerns from residents about safety.

The developer, listed as Mr C Gifford, has been given the nod to concrete pasture land in Hester's Way to create a 'park and walk' facility.

The privately-owned car park will be aimed at people working nearby and the developer says it will ease problems with cars clogging up residential roads.

The site off Fiddler's Green Lane is empty and owned by Cheltenham Borough Council., whose planning committee approved the plans.

Councillor Simon Wheeler (LD, Hester's Way), who sits on the committee, said: "I know some neighbours don't want it and I can fully understand that, but the developer already has permission to build three houses on the site, so this is the lesser of two evils."

He said it would have been "practically impossible" to turn the application down as, by law, there were no valid planning reasons to do so.

As part of the permission, the developer has been asked to make a contribution towards the cost of putting yellow lines on roads in the area.

Councillor Wheeler said: "They won't solve the problems because there are so many people looking for parking, but it will help."

The permission will run for four years and the car park will be open from 7am until 9pm, Monday to Friday and between 7am and 1pm on Saturday, but would be closed on Sundays and bank holidays.

Residents had said concreting over the 0.17 hectares would spoil their view of the Malvern Hills, as well as creating traffic problems.

Cheltenham Civic Society said it was not convinced the plan was the "best use" of the land.

Chairman Stephen Clarke said: "It's a privately-owned car park for another business which seems a bit of a strange thing to do.

"It's a shame to lose that piece of land.

"It's doesn't seem very appropriate and it's an unfortunate decision."

GCHQ was not involved with the application.

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10 comments

  • tishwash  |  February 26 2013, 8:25PM

    "The car park is just a option, based on a approach from a private contractor who needs parking for there staff, and does not want to upset residents with parking issues." It's a completely private company ? Not related to the staff?

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  • clayton3249  |  February 26 2013, 11:48AM

    I was born in Beale Walk, grew up in Hicks Beach Road, and when we were children played in the green fields of Fiddlers Green Lane, the only thing in the area was GCHQ. The car park is just a option, based on a approach from a private contractor who needs parking for there staff, and does not want to upset residents with parking issues. The houses still have planning consent (both schemes) for 5 years. I think you should look back to when you purchased your house, and see if GCHQ was there, as for losing views, well it is not going to be muti storey, AND I think your 6 feet fence is more of a hindurance?

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  • tishwash  |  February 25 2013, 5:49PM

    So bonnie54Monday Lets take one point at a time shall we "Ridiculous & why would GCHQ employees pay to park there (when they don't even do so in the car park behind Coronation Sq shops which is often almost empty)" --- I have asked this question of a friend that works there and have been told they aren't allowed to, they used to but the prices rose and then the owners wanted the car park for 'locals' to use the coronation square parking ---- So go blame them. "they can park for free by clogging up all available & nearby roads & will continue to do so." --- Yes, clog up the roads that are residential and barely in use during the day and then disappear in the early evening and be replaced by resident cars doing the same. "I can't wait to monitor this car park & see how many cars are actually using it." --- I'm sure if it's not used it won't last long as the developer won't make money from it, but good on you curtain twitcher for monitoring it for everyone. "I lost my view of Churchdown Hill & Glos Cathedral when CGHQ & private houses were built on the lovely green fields at the back of me" --- That's circa 5 miles as the bird flies, good eyesight! "completely obliterating the far reaching views. " --- Could of been a story higher but they didn't, could of been on top completely and not built into the ground slightly, they didn't. "Not forgetting the 5 years of building hell" --- I have no argument to that, i'm sure it wasn't great for the 5 years they were building it. "the continuing loud fan noises 24/7" --- What noises? I've walked and run princes elizabeth way and through the park loads and can't hear any. "leaving me in limbo with a stress disorder" --- Stress, why ? Or is this being used as evidence for a 'disability claim' "engine noise tinnitus & losing 70% of my hearing in one ear)." --- So what about the fact GCHQ were there long before you moved in? --- Tinnitus from car engines? Why live on a main road --- Hearing loss ? from GCHQ ? must be those pesky satellite rays. Now the plus points for GCHQ being in Cheltenham: 1) It's brought thousands of workers to the county 2) Those people in turn keep Cheltenham's economy on the 'up' 3) Your houses are worth more because they're desirable 4) It's helped with the average age of the county 5) You must feel safer knowing a presence like that is around ? doubt they'll let anything bad happen nearby? 6) They're doing a stonking good job every day, so cut them some slack, my mate gets ****** all money for the job he is likely to be doing, if he worked in industry he'd earn more, but hey go see the Daily Mail headlines of how much civil servants earn, then compare that to their recruitment website.

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  • bonnie54  |  February 25 2013, 12:57PM

    Ridiculous & why would GCHQ employees pay to park there (when they don't even do so in the car park behind Coronation Sq shops which is often almost empty) & they can park for free by clogging up all available & nearby roads & will continue to do so. Nobody else is likely to use it either. I can't wait to monitor this car park & see how many cars are actually using it. When this piece of land was left, it was known that it couldn't be developed due to the drainage underneath so I am wondering what has changed? Oh, & I lost my view of Churchdown Hill & Glos Cathedral when CGHQ & private houses were built on the lovely green fields at the back of me completely obliterating the far reaching views. Not forgetting the 5 years of building hell (& the continuing loud fan noises 24/7) leaving me in limbo with a stress disorder, engine noise tinnitus & losing 70% of my hearing in one ear).

    Rate   -12
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  • GrumblingNora  |  February 25 2013, 11:53AM

    Of course there'll be a charge for parking, and it'll be full every day. Paid parking is the cheapest and easiest way to make money in this environment. It's just concrete, a bit of white paint and someone wandering around checking number plates. Whereas building three houses costs a lot upfront, with no buyers guaranteed. The use of that piece of land personally affects me. So I am allowed a view (or at least, I am allowed to have a view until it gets blocked by coaches, lorries etc). And I don't actually believe the council owns it, they didn't before. Gifford, car dealer, had other, much more sinister plans for the site, there were even rumours going the rounds about a traveller site. This car park is the least bad of the options. Sad but true. I'm surprised though that the opening hours are going on so long into the evening - 9pm! Seems late to be having cars coming and going immediately behind residential houses and gardens. And I resent the cynical way this was managed, I think this outcome was always his intention. He applied to build ugly houses, got refused. Amended them to bland houses, got permission. Applied to build the car park (although last time I looked he hadn't paid enough for the application to be considered..?) and got it as the lesser evil - 'no reason to refuse it'. Great.

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  • thomas1996  |  February 25 2013, 10:45AM

    Wouldn't be better to bulldoze the eyesore also known as Coronation Square and make it into a car park until Tesco decide if they want to build yet another supermarket there?

    Rate   10
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  • AndyPrestbury  |  February 25 2013, 9:53AM

    How is traffic for 70 car parking spaces, and the associated traffic, less of an impact than 3 houses? Unless of course each house had a driveway allowing 24+ cars each.

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  • AndyPrestbury  |  February 25 2013, 9:33AM

    What about GCHQ renting some of the car park that already exists behind Coronation Square? No need to concrete over land when there is already some available to use, and only a few hundred yards to walk from as well.

    Rate   6
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  • galopede  |  February 25 2013, 9:27AM

    I presume there will be a charge for this car park, hence the developer wants to put yellow lines everywhere to ensure plenty of custom?

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  • nomossystone  |  February 25 2013, 9:10AM

    ' To fake paradise put up a parking lot'. Let's face it Hesters Way needs the inpirational view of the Malvern hills it's a bleak outlook otherwise.

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