A NUMBER of empty and run down properties in Cirencester could be transformed into new housing sites, as part of the next stage of the proposed district-wide Local Plan.

The ‘place-shaping’ phase of the Local Plan preparation will see Cirencester Town Council engage with members of the local community to assess eight areas that could potentially be redeveloped.

The areas up for consideration are the town’s police station and magistrate’s court, the Old Memorial Hospital, Austin Road Flats, 42-54 Querns Lane, land at Chesterton School, land at Paternoster House, the field east of Somerford Road and land close to Purley Road.

Speaking at the latest CTC meeting on Tuesday, February 4, Cllr Deryck Nash said that it was in Cirencester’s best interest to get on board with the project.

“It would be really useful for us as a town council to get involved, it would be wrong for us not to,” he said.

“If we do not get involved and then decide we don’t like the allocated sites, the district council would say that we have no right to complain.”

Members of the local community, along with the relevant ward councillors, will be asked to consider one of the eight deliverable sites and advise if the site is suitable in terms of accommodating new development in Cirencester.

The assessment groups will have to analyse each of the sites against a number of specific criteria, including its size, age and location, which is set out in a specially adapted site assessment toolkit.

It should be noted that the proposed 2,500 home development in Chesterton will be subject to its own community engagement project at a later date.

Various site assessments will be carried out throughout Cirencester over the coming weeks with the results being collated in time for the next town council meeting on Tuesday, March 11.

Many council members criticised Cotswold District Council for only allotting a short amount of time in which to complete the project.

The current Local Plan sets out a provision for 6,900 homes to be built across the Cotswolds over the next 18 years, with just under one third of all houses earmarked for the Chesterton area of Cirencester.

For more information on the Local Plan, visit www.cotswold.gov.uk.