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Homes on Ashchurch Army camp site looking likely

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: March 15, 2012

Ashchurch

Ashchurch

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FEARS it's only a matter of time before the Ashchurch Army depot is sold were strengthened after military bosses announced a public consultation into homes on the site.

The MoD has emailed all Tewkesbury borough councillors to inform them of the planned discussions.

Any housing development would come at the expense of the 700 mostly civilian jobs.

The letter states that discussions were taking place between MoD officials and borough council officers about the site's potential redevelopment.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation said a public consultation event on the plan would take place towards the end of March.

But the Ministry of Defence insists it has not made a final decision on the future of its vehicle storage depot.

The letter said: "This will form part of pre-application discussions currently taking place between MoD officials and officers at Tewkesbury Borough Council, in relation to potential redevelopment at MoD Ashchurch.

"Prior to undertaking this consultation it was felt important to make contact with district councillors to provide background to the proposals and to provide an update with respect to the current status of the site."

Joy Shillam is chairman of the parish council for Northway, the large housing estate close to the camp.

She said: "The future of the site has been in doubt for a long time. I feel sorry for the people that work there. If it does close, it's going to make a lot of people unemployed."

Military bosses are preparing a planning application for housing on the site. It is linked to the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) being drawn up by the district councils for Tewkesbury, Cheltenham and Gloucester suggests 2,100 homes be built on the camp and fields close to it.

Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson has been trying to save the camp from closure and says talk of building houses is premature. He said: "I need to make the MoD aware that the JCS is far from settled."

He added there were also concerns over whether the site might be contaminated and whether development would worsen flooding in the area.

Tewkesbury Borough Council's planning policy manager, Nigel Gilmore, said: "As such, any discussions with council officers have been very preliminary and are without prejudice to any potential decision by the council relating to any future proposals from the MoD.

"There is now a requirement for landowner and developers to undertake pre-application public consultation, which is the purpose of the letter from the MOD to our councillors."

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  • Rimestock  |  March 19 2012, 11:37PM

    What stuff?

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  • nikonman2010  |  March 19 2012, 8:58PM

    As there are hangers there full of stuff the police siezed in the 1970s as well gathering dust im sure that the land could be put to better use rather than having so called "Army personell" strutting round with a few tanks thinking theyre in Badlads army

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  • Matt1006  |  March 19 2012, 2:52PM

    Live1love - not much point writing a Christmas present wish-list this year then? And nobody will be on my Xmas card list...

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  • Live1love  |  March 19 2012, 1:11PM

    Don't worry it's the end of the world 21st December 2012! The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on 21 December 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae have been proposed as pertaining to this date, though none have been accepted by mainstream scholarship. A New Age interpretation of this transition is that this date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era. Others suggest that the 2012 date marks the end of the world or a similar catastrophe. Scenarios suggested for the end of the world include the arrival of the next solar maximum, or Earth's collision with a black hole or passing asteroid, or with a planet called "Nibiru".

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  • mightyasterix  |  March 18 2012, 5:53PM

    If you work there, get organised to oppose the planning application. Getting the planning through for houses is a prerequisite of closing the base. I think.......

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  • Grand_Fromage  |  March 17 2012, 1:30AM

    This will be brilliant for the local economy, 2000 families doing their shopping in Tewkesbury.

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  • zinger1  |  March 16 2012, 2:49PM

    There must be another war looming on the horizon - anybody want a near complete aircraft carrier?

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  • Matt1006  |  March 16 2012, 1:42PM

    Housing is right for this site. What is the point in building a load of offices / tin sheds at Ashchurch, when so much of the same has been built either side of the M5 junction, a good chunk of which (particularly on Tewkesbury Business Park - Shannon Way, Severn Drive) sits empty, having never been occupied??? There isn't the demand to fill the employment buildings already in place barely a mile away, so why would an employment development on Ashchurch camp be any different - where are the companies who would occupy the site, once built? Somebody recently commented on another article that 50% of the units in the Kingsditch area of Cheltenham are empty - there simply isn't the demand for offices / tin sheds at the moment. Yes, 700 jobs will go from Ashchurch, although I assume some workers will be retained by the MOD and transferred elsewhere, so won't be 700 redundancies. Do agree that the local road network would need some major investment, although any planning permissions for the re-development of the camp will include substantial financial conditions, so this will help.

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  • scottjadams  |  March 16 2012, 12:58PM

    No excellent. As other forums have said 700 people will have lost their jobs and the economy of Ashchurch and Tewkesbury will suffer badly. Surely it would be better for this site to be redeveloped to provide replacement jobs and new jobs for people who have already been made redundant rather than new mainly houses which people will not be able to afford if they have no jobs. If there are no jobs, anyone living on the Ashchurch site will commute to Birmingham, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Worcester and Bristol by car - the rail service is poor at best. As someone who uses the M5 Tewkesbury junction on a frequent basis how will the traffic from what might be up to 2,000 houses be accommodated on the roads? The congestion is bad enough already, especially in the mornings when there is backing up cause by the traffic lights either side of the junction. Think again. Do not just try to make money from putting housing on the site. Think of the wider community and their needs, especially the lost jobs.

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  • Panthera_Noir  |  March 16 2012, 12:21AM

    I'd be more interested in what they're going to do with the mollusc population ......... about 700 of 'em.

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