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Residents oppose North Place and Portland street plans

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

Peter Sayers Isobel Laing Kate Lewtas Moni Newham Peter Newham Bruce Buchanan and Guy Beresford

Peter Sayers Isobel Laing Kate Lewtas Moni Newham Peter Newham Bruce Buchanan and Guy Beresford

Comments (26)

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.

Bus node:

This will subject the poor residents to noise, fumes and visual intrusion. There are no facilities for taxis.

Traffic impact:

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.

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26 comments

  • tishwash  |  February 10 2013, 12:15PM

    "You obviously don't live in St. Pauls otherwise you wouldn't need to ask about the parking situation here. So how would you know what did and did not make a difference? Basically your preaching about something knowing that you will not have to live with the consequences." I live very close so would be affected if the car parks were scalled back, I also would live near the extra traffic, oh and any deliveries etc, so I think I would live with any changes. As for parking, St Pauls has the same parking issue as anywhere else in Cheltenham that has too many houses for the on-street or even permit parking, not sure why building this far away from st pauls would effect it ........

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  • eyeopener  |  February 09 2013, 8:00PM

    @tishwash I am not quite sure what you meant in your reply but few local residents would leave their cars overnight in the two car parks mentioned. You obviously don't live in St. Pauls otherwise you wouldn't need to ask about the parking situation here. So how would you know what did and did not make a difference? Basically your preaching about something knowing that you will not have to live with the consequences.

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  • tishwash  |  February 09 2013, 3:50PM

    @eyeopener well during the day most roads are permitted around that area, as for the evening I agree there's too many cars for parking but no one goes and parks on the two car parks over night so there's no difference?

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  • eyeopener  |  February 09 2013, 12:34PM

    @ tishwash You said: "What time of the day is the problem that you see currently?" We see two waves of parkers. During the day it is office workers and shoppers combined with residents and in the evening all spaces are filled again by residents. The area is overwhelmingly populated by 'housing in multiple occupation' and so this area is already suffering saturation parking. Any more just exacerbates the problem. Believe me, when the road spaces are full, people just park on the pavements.

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  • Squirrel5678  |  February 09 2013, 11:58AM

    @tishwash So why not on the whole site (especially as North Place is much bigger than Portland) when we NEED houses but don't need yet another supermarket.

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  • Squirrel5678  |  February 09 2013, 11:57AM

    So why not the whole site (especially as North Place is much bigger) when we NEED housing but don't need yet another supermarket.

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  • tishwash  |  February 09 2013, 11:25AM

    @Squirrel5678 they're doing both

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  • Squirrel5678  |  February 09 2013, 8:32AM

    @JASB999 The Council's original plan was for housing on this site - which would be a great use of it, and help alleviate housing shortage - but they are now selling out for supermarket cash.

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  • tishwash  |  February 09 2013, 12:50AM

    "This is simply a nice try at distorting the objection. Residents are not trying to block individual motorists, but instead block plans that would lead to an influx of non-residents seeking to use their streets as cheap parking." Why would people be using it as cheap parking ? there'll be a car park still and a supermarket (usually like 2 hours free and people use them to park) What time of the day is the problem that you see currently?

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  • eyeopener  |  February 08 2013, 10:54PM

    @tishwash The area has been plagued by parking difficulties because the council has failed to meet its responsibilities, and has reduced rather than increased the capacity of local car parks. You said: "if I want to park outside a 'residents' house then as long as it's a public road and not double yellowed I will, I park responsibly and the resident doesn't own the road" I agree residents do not own the roads, but which of them has barred YOUR parking? This is simply a nice try at distorting the objection. Residents are not trying to block individual motorists, but instead block plans that would lead to an influx of non-residents seeking to use their streets as cheap parking. As for "I live nearby and can't park on my road most the time" is that a good reason why everyone elses experience should be worsened?

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