A PETITION opposing a controversial housing development in Cirencester has received nearly half the number of signatures it requires within a week of it being launched.

According to the district council’s planning document, 2,500 homes need to be built in the Chesterton Farm area by 2034.

The Save Our Cirencester group conceived the petition which is asking the district council to reconsider its policy.

The petition is asking that the document includes a fairer distribution of housing numbers across the towns and villages in the district.

If the petition receives more than 850 signatures the group’s request must be debated by CDC.

Save Our Cirencester believe there has been inadequate consultation on the plan and that Chesterton is bearing the brunt of CDC’s need to build 6,900 homes by 2031 to meet government targets.

On Friday, the petition was available for signing for the first time outside the Parish Church in Cirencester and 400 people signed it.

Patrick Moylan, of Save Our Cirencester, said: “This has to show there is a high amount of support to try and make the council think again on this development because it is not going to solve the problem, it is going to destroy Cirencester.”

Many concerned Cirencester residents who signed told the Standard why they thought the Chesterton development should not go ahead.

Gordon Burley, of Chesterton, said the development was far too large for Cirencester and that building homes in villages as well as creating small hamlets would be a better idea.

He said: “It is just too big for the town – far too big.”

“I know we have to get more houses in the town but a 30 or 40 per cent increase in the population is just too much for Cirencester.”

He added that he felt the district council had taken the easy option of planning all the homes on one area of land that Earl Bathurst had agreed to sell to developers.

“Earl Bathurst has immediately given them the opportunity to solve our problem. This is the easy option – building 2,500 homes in one place.”

Gordon Stone of Stratton was another who agreed that building in smaller areas of population across the district would be better.

He said: “If there is a reasonable amount of houses being built in these villages it would help solve the problem.”

“If they were to spread some of the houses, and they were lower cost, then we would get more young people there.” There are a lot of older people living in these villages.”

The petition will next be available to sign outside the Parish Church on Saturday.