Tetbury Highfield Farm decision branded “disastrous”
FURIOUS town councillors in Tetbury have branded a decision to allow two planning appeals which could see almost 300 new houses built on greenfield sites in the town as “disastrous”.
It was announced last week that secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles had overturned Cotswold District Council’s refusal of planning permission for a 250-home development at Highfield Farm as well as 39 homes south of Berrells Road.
The announcements caused uproar in Tetbury, with councillors at Monday’s town council meeting hitting out at the decisions, which Cllr Sandra Ball branded “an utter shambles” while Cllr Diana Hicks called the situation “disastrous”.
“We did the best we could but it didn’t impress the inspector,” she said.
Mayor Rob McCorkell said it was important the council now move quickly to engage with the developer before any full application could be lodged.
“We’ve been quite clear we don’t want these developments and that has not changed,” he said.
Tetbury mayor Rob McCorkell“We’ve been quite clear we don’t want these developments and that has not changed”
“Unless a High Court appeal is lodged, the applications have currently got outline planning permission.
“If we do not engage to minimise the impact and maximise the benefit to the community than we are remiss in our duties as a council, but that doesn’t mean we support it.”
Cllr Liz Farnham added the town council now had little power to prevent the developments going ahead.
“We’ve got to work on the assumption that it is going ahead and it is not in our gift to stop it,” she said.
Although the developments lie within Tetbury Upton parish they are set to have a massive impact on the town itself, and the two parish councils have set up a joint group to develop the best way forward.
The town council have issued an official response to the announcement, saying it is “bitterly disappointed” by the decisions.
“In this case the result of the appeal process and the provisions of the Localism Act have led to our community having excessive and unwanted development forced upon us, despite the town council and local communities’ support for a current brownfield proposal,” it read.
It added the council would be working with CDC and developers to work for the good of the community.
“The town council’s previous comments regarding such matters as the developer’s contribution to the community, the phasing of the build and the impact it could have on Tetbury, were made examining each application individually,” it continued.
“In light of the now significant population increase we face should all the current proposals proceed, we feel it is essential to revisit and where appropriate renegotiate these items.”