COTSWOLD District Council (CDC) officers have officially recommended that councillors approve plans by Bathurst Development Ltd (BDL) to build up to 2,350 homes in Cirencester.

A report published yesterday recommended the application for approval and makes clear what officers think should be included within Section 106 agreements.

Councillors will be deciding on the outline application by BDL during a meeting on September 26 at Cirencester Baptist Church.

S106 agreements are made between authorities and developers over planning obligations when a development is likely to have a significant impact on an area.

For the Chesterton scheme, officers have recommended contributions of £100,000 for town centre improvements, £500,000 for town centre parking, £144,165 towards police services and a new primary school for 630 pupils.

The report also outlines that 30 per cent of houses (705) will be affordable, 65 per cent of these will be rented accommodation and 35 per cent low cost home ownership.

Graeme Phillips, lead architect for BDL, commented: “We remain committed to creating a new sustainable, sympathetically designed, and genuinely integrated new neighbourhood for Cirencester with employment, community and leisure facilities at its heart.

“Set in a unique network of landscaped routes and spaces, it will offer new homes and jobs to suit a wide range of people, and make an important contribution to this historic market town.”

Campaign group Save Our Cirencester (SOC) said it had yet to look at the CDC report in detail.

But chairman Mark Pratley said: “Had Councillor Annett attended a packed community-organised town meeting last week he would have heard the community ask: why support an application which increases pollution to or in excess of legal limits for Cirencester including its schools, when the need identified by the council to 2031 is met by new build and new permissions.”

Meanwhile, Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown called for more public debate over S106 contributions: “It is not good enough for CDC to decide far-reaching changes for the town behind closed doors without any public consultation.

“I am therefore calling on them in the strongest possible terms that... when the application is considered in principle, to delay the decision on the S106 so that more public debate can take place.”

SOC said it welcomed Mr Clifton-Brown’s comments about a lack of public consultation but were concerned that the MP ‘appears to assume that the planning application has already been decided’.

The group asked Mr Clifton-Brown to call on the district council to delay consideration of the planning application until after the local plan examination.

The Chesterton application can be viewed on CDC’s online planning register using the reference number: 16/00054/OUT.