THE decision to approve a controversial 120-home planning application in Fairford has been called "poor" by one district councillor.
The application for 120 homes next to Fairford Football Club that raised concerns it could cause flooding in the town has been approved on its second attempt by Cotswold District Council.
Cllr Mark Wardle, of Fairford Town Council and CDC, said he thought the final decision was poorly made.
“The first decision was widely welcomed by the people of Fairford. Sustainable development is improving people’s lives – the key word here is improving," he said.
Cotswold District Council’s planning committee had kicked out the plan by Kensington and Edinburgh Estates for land next to Fairford Town FC’s ground in January.
They felt that the town’s sewer system was already struggling to cope with flooding in the town over Christmas, and there was no information from Thames Water about how the system could be improved, therefore, building houses on the land was out of the question.
However, after the outline application was refused, a housing scheme in Bourton-on-the-Water, where flooding was also an issue, was approved after Thames Water said it could resolve the issue. This prompted CDC’s planning officers to put the Fairford application back in for reconsideration, arguing that the water company could, therefore, ease flooding in Fairford as well.
A total of 165 letters of objection were sent in from Fairford groups and residents. Fairford’s Councillor Ray Theodoulou said he was “totally bewildered” that the application was back before the committee.
“Every time it rains, the pumps in the town are overwhelmed,” he said. “The only solution is to replace them but I don’t see anything in the application about this.”
Simon Hoare from Kensington and Edinburgh said he absolutely recognised there needed to be sewerage work done in Fairford.
“But if you refuse this application today, there will still be problems in the town,” he said.
The developer was told that the final scheme would need to include play areas and a contribution to Fairford Primary and Farmor’s schools to enable them to cope with the influx of students the development would bring.
Planning committee members were told that the development would help meet Government housing targets and include a building that would be for healthcare use.
The scheme split the committee, leaving planning chairman Robin Hughes to cast the decisive vote. He said he was sympathetic but “under the circumstances” voted in favour of the scheme.