A CONTROVERSIAL planning inquiry into Cotswold District Council’s failure to make a decision within set time limits for a scheme to build 146 new homes in Stow took place over four days last week.

Members of the public attended the inquiry which was held at the authority’s Cirencester headquarters on Trinity Road.

Applicant Bovis Homes lodged an appeal last October on the grounds of CDC’s non-determination of the outline plans to build 146 homes, half of which would be affordable houses, on land to the east of Griffin Close, near Oddington Road.

Residents and town councillors from Stow attended the planning inquiry to make their views known.

Stow Town Councillor Chris Turner spoke on behalf of the town council.

“There have been 300 letters of objection to this appeal,” he said. “We in Stow have done an appraisal with regards to affordable housing and in 2012 we found out that only 27 affordable houses were needed whereas the proposed development is providing us with 73.

“I believe the reason for this application is for Bovis Homes to make profit by buying land and then selling it to the highest bidder.”

Stow resident Geoff Williams said if the homes were built gradually, then they could be incorporated into the town and built in a suitable location.

“If you try and build them all in one go, you can imagine how the infrastructure will suffer,” he added. “We spoke to around 650 people in Stow back in January 2013 asking them to sign a petition.

“Ninety per cent of those interviewed in Stow were against the development.”

Other concerns included whether Thames Water will be able to deliver water to the new houses and remove waste water and sewage efficiently.

The planning inspector will announce his decision in due course.

The housing development is the first that Cotswolds MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown has officially objected to since he was first elected in 1992.

The MP wrote to the government stating he was against the new homes scheme and has since supported the town. He said the number of houses planned was “undesirable” given Stow’s historic square, limited parking and facilities.