RESIDENTS have spoken out against a controversial plans to develop a prominent area in Cheltenham town centre.
Seventeen residents from the St Paul's and Pittville areas have signed a letter to the Echo, objecting to plans for North Place and Portland Street sites.
Developers Augur Buchler want to redevelop the two locations. The scheme will include affordable housing, a multi-storey car park, a public square, a bus station, and a food store.
But residents opposed to the scheme have pointed out problems with the proposals, including:
St Margaret's Terrace:
The terrace is grade two listed, and the multi-storey car park will be of similar height and will not enhance the architectural heritage.
Impact on Northfield Passage:
Formosa House, an architectural gem at the end of the terrace by North Place, will be particularly affected by turning vehicles.
Impact on Dowty House:
This home for the elderly will have a supermarket looming over it with a subsequent loss of daylight and sunlight.
This will subject the poor residents to noise, fumes and visual intrusion. There are no facilities for taxis.
The northern by-pass is often gridlocked, especially on weekends and peak-travel times. The lack of a right turn off St Margaret's road will encourage more articulated lorries, delivery vans and cars into the residential streets of Monson Avenue and Clarence Square.
Impact on shops:
Local corner shops will close, and independent traders on High Street might close.
Bruce Buchanan, a retired architect who headed the petition, said: "It is an extremely disorganised way to develop a town centre.
"It is completely farcical and will cause problems with people living in the area. There must be a balance of doing what is right and making money.
"In principle, we do not oppose development of the sites, which have remained undeveloped for over 30 years, but the current application is an ill-conceived scheme that will ruin a historic part of our beautiful town. The proposals represent a gross overdevelopment of the sites and will have an adverse visual, economic and traffic impact."
John Scrase, who has lived in Clarence Square for 13 years, added: "This development is bad for the area and could devalue my property. We already have no parking spaces at the moment. A big development so close will cause more problems."
Jeremy Williamson, managing director of Cheltenham Development Task Force, which is behind the project, insisted residents' views had been taken into account.
"The developers held an open consultation and specific meetings for both local residents and key interest groups, such as the Civic Society, in November 2012 and January this year as part of the wider consultation process," he said.
"A range of helpful comments, thoughts and ideas for improving the scheme have resulted. The latest scheme submitted for consideration by Cheltenham Borough Council's planning committee includes these amendments.
"Inevitably a scheme of this scale and complexity will not be able to satisfy everyone's aspirations. Clearly we respect the rights of any groups or individuals to express their concerns as part of the planning process."
Cheltenham's planning committee will consider the application on February 21.