The population of rural Ashchurch is set to rise ten-fold due to development, the parish council chairman has warned.
Angela Brown, of Ashchurch Rural Parish Council, outlined her fears about the consequences for the community in a letter to Robert Hitchins Ltd. It was in response to its request for people’s views on its plans to build 550 homes north of the Army camp.
She said proposing to develop the land before details of the Joint Core Strategy (a future planning blueprint being put together by the district councils for Tewkesbury, Cheltenham and Gloucester) had been finalised, meant it was premature.
And she said Ashchurch could mushroom in size if other planned developments were approved. They were 2,125 homes on the Army camp, 250 on land fronting the A46 at Pamington, 45 at the rear of Ashchurch Village Hall and 15 on the former Queen’s Head site at Aston Cross.
She said: “This would increase our rural population from 750 people to say 7,000, plus cars. It is totally changing the face of the rural parish and turning it into an urban sprawl.
“I ask where the infrastructure will be and from where the jobs will be forthcoming to accommodate all these proposed residents?
“I feel that we should be taking progress step by step and not pushing forward developments within the rural parish and not pre-empting the JCS.
“We need a comprehensive study of the infrastructure requirements associated with the development of so many properties in Ashchurch. I look to Tewkesbury Borough Council to refuse these applications until the JCS has been approved.”
The borough council’s group manager for development services, Julie Wood, said: “We recognise that the land to the north of the MoD site is part of a wider area at Ashchurch, which is proposed for development. Within the JCS is a whole range of policies, which require all developers to demonstrate how a holistic approach to the entire development site can be delivered and supported.
“We have also been working alongside other councils in Gloucestershire on an Infrastructure Delivery Plan, which highlights the infrastructure requirements of the JCS – such as highways upgrades and improvements. This information will be used to help inform the implications of any development put forward.”