COTSWOLD District Council will be meeting on September 26 to consider CD 16/00054/OUT, the Chesterton application, for approval of access arrangements for up to 2,300 dwellings.

The Officer recommendation, while recommending approval, admits: “The proposed retail/leisure/office development would be outside of Cirencester town centre and would not be in accordance with adopted Local Plan policy.” 

The new draft local plan has been skewed to accommodate this development despite the recommendations of the CDC councillors’ focus groups formed during the local plan process who wanted to spread development around the villages and not concentrate it around Cirencester. 

So why did Forward Planning ignore when drafting their new local plan which has yet to be approved despite being already six years late?
Why keep pushing for so many houses adjacent to Cirencester? Why recommend approval? For fear of upsetting the noble Lord?

To be honest I can’t think of any logical reason to approve this application. 2,300 dwellings is far too many without any additional road capacity being provided. Deer Park roundabout is gridlocked at peak times now, Chesterton residents are so terrified of being trapped in their residential roads by the additional traffic, that they have even been lobbying me two years after I left CDC.

This cannot lawfully be a political decision, I spent 11 years as CDC Conservative whip and know whipping, slavishly following a party line is not allowed on planning matters. It must be a free vote.

I can only hope councillors will have the good sense to vote against this proposal, or at the very least abstain and show that they put the best interests of the people of Cirencester and the Cotswolds before the recommendations of unelected officers and the greed of a small number of speculators and developers.