SAVE Our Cirencester (SOC) is calling for the decision on the Bathurst plans for 2,350 new homes to be deferred again.

Councillors on Cotswold District Council (CDC) will be considering the planning application by Bathurst Development Ltd for the second time on Tuesday, December 12 at a meeting from 10am at the Baptist Church in Chesterton Lane.

It was anticipated that a decision would be made by September 26 during a special CDC meeting.

But the decision was deferred for three months on the grounds that further details were needed on issues of access relating to the bus gate, a bus-only road which divides the east and west sides of the development.

Campaigners against the mega-development are asking councillors to defer the decision yet again until the inspector has published his findings on the Local Plan.

SOC campaigners argued that the huge strategic site is no longer needed to fulfil the Cotswolds’ housing needs, citing the fact that the Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) in the Cotswolds is 8,100 homes. The overall supply by 2031 however would be 10,504.

The group also said that two other sites proposed in 2013 were considered to be more sustainable.

Mark Pratley, SOC chairman said: “We are repeatedly told by CDC that Chesterton is the only game in town. It is not.

“Councillors have expressed concerns about harming the council’s reputation, but it would be an act of total incompetence for them to approve the OPA, before the inspector has published his findings, especially in light of the number of questions he has raised.

“To do otherwise (to not to defer the application) will lead the people of Cirencester to conclude they are not listening, it will bring into disrepute the Local Plan inquiry, and cause very serious harm to the council’s reputation.”

A CDC spokesperson responded: “Council officers have held discussions with representatives of SOC over a number of issues.

“Insofar as the meeting date December 12 is concerned, the following considerations were taken into account:

“The council agreed that consideration of the application be deferred for a maximum period of three months - to change this would require a formal decision.

“The applicant, and all others involved, have been working to such a timeframe.

“Any decision to permit would be subject to caveats/requirements before a decision notice could be issued.

“The Local Plan Examination in Public was concluded well in advance and there has been no indication or suggestion that the council should defer its consideration of the BDL application.

“The council has a statutory duty to determine applications within statutory time limits.

“Any continued delay could lead to an increased prospect of an appeal against non-determination, and possible costs if the council is judged to have delayed unreasonably. If the application is determined at appeal, the council will lose its negotiating position in securing developer contributions.”