Kier Construction's duel development scheme looks set for go-ahead
PROPOSALS for a Cheltenham-based building firm to turn its base into 33 new homes look set to go ahead after getting the backing of town planners.
Kier Construction has submitted an application to replace its offices in Leckhampton Road with 22 new houses and 11 apartments.
Bosses at the company hope the blueprint will fund a second plan to build a new £6.3 million headquarters in Hatherley Lane.
If the homes scheme is rejected, however, it would torpedo any hopes of the relocation move coming to fruition.
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Both applications are set to go before planning committee members of Cheltenham Borough Council next Thursday – and both are recommended for approval by council planning officers.
Simon Firkins, of SF Planning, the agent representing Kier, said it was a positive step.
"We are pleased with the officer recommendation as it stands," he said.
"We wouldn't want to second guess the planning committee's decision, but we are very pleased the initial reaction has been positive as these are plans we have worked very hard on."
Kier has been based in Leckhampton for more than 60 years, but company bosses want to move, saying its premises has become outdated.
It wants to build a new base at the former Woodward International site, in Hatherley, keeping 166 jobs in the town.
Mr Firkins added: "Obviously it would be a big positive to retain the jobs within the town.
"The plans are such that all the jobs currently based in Cheltenham would be kept and there might be scope to offer even more job opportunities in future."
Cheltenham Civic Society has voiced concerns about the volume of traffic the Leckhampton Road development could create, although it describe the design of the homes as "commendable".
Several residents have also written in to lodge objections to the Leckhampton scheme – with particular complaints about a footpath between the development and Southcourt Close.
One resident said: "We think there is insufficient parking provision allowed for the development, and consider the pedestrian link will have the effect of turning Southcourt Close and Southcourt Drive into a car park."
Both applications will go before the council's planning committee next Thursday. The meeting starts at 6pm.