1,300 homes plan for Leckhampton and Shurdington under fire
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 1,300 new homes in Cheltenham were met with objection when they went on public display for the first time.
Hundreds of people turned out to see the proposals for the houses in Leckhampton and Shurdington at the exhibitions over the weekend.
The plans include building the new homes along with a new primary school, open space the size of 16 football pitches, a GP surgery, and shops and allotments.
The consortium of developers is also asking for opinions on ideas such as a new care home or community hospital.
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Objections against the major development have already been voiced by the community and campaigners believe information from the exhibitions reinforces their views.
Anthony Heckstall-Smith and his wife Jeannie, who live near the site, were both against it.
Mr Heckstall-Smith said: "I don't want anything built on the site and nothing in the world is going to convince me about this.
"The infrastructure and roads will all be overloaded and it is dreadful already.
"To me , this is a cynical attempt to dump a large village on the edge of Cheltenham – just like Springbank and Hester's Way."
Mrs Heckstall-Smith added: "I can understand some housing being built there, but I don't want anything like the amount they are suggesting. Something needs to be done, but I would like to see a town farm there." The proposal could also see the land west of Farm Lane opened up to create a new community orchard. Other ideas include sports pitches at Lott's Meadow.
Steve Carey, for the developers, said there had been a good response to the exhibition.
He said: "The majority of people are against the principle of development, but we are looking for people to give us feedback on the proposals. The principle of development in the area is something for the local authority to decide and the consortium is responding to the need for housing."
Pressure group Leckhampton Green Land Action Group (Leglag) did an exit poll of visitors to the Brizen Centre exhibition on Saturday and found 330 people strongly opposed the plans, while just three were in support of it and nine were neutral.
Gerry Potter, from Leglag, said an overwhelming majority of people who came along to the exhibition did not want the proposed development to come to fruition.
He said: "Most objections are to the scale of the proposed development and because of the very high density of the proposed dwellings, which could be out of character with the existing housing."
Councillors Roger Whyborn and Ian Bickerton have opposed the plans, concerned by the traffic problems the extra homes could create.
Another public exhibition will take place on Saturday, October 6 from 11am to 7pm at Leckhampton Primary School.