Concept ideas to stop Leckhampton development dubbed "pie in the sky"
Plans to create an animal park or a university-style research institute on land near Cheltenham have been dubbed "pie in the sky" by sceptical councillors.
Campaigners trying to stop developers building more than 1,000 homes in the Leckhampton area have come up with a concept designed to halt the plans. Three ideas have been floated as part of a proposal to turn the land into a country park.
As well as the animal park and the research technology institute, there is also the suggestion part of the land could be used for a hydroponics centre – an agricultural system which involves growing crops without soil. The idea is being worked on by a neighbourhood plan team made up of members from Leckhampton with Warden Hill Parish Council and campaigners from the Leckhampton Green Land Action Group. And their schemes were first aired in public at a meeting of the parish council last week.
Borough councillor Anne Regan, who also sits on the parish council, was confused by the ideas.
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She said: "I thought originally that Leglag supporters had said 'no building' and then this month we have an animal farm. These concept ideas are almost pie in the sky. They are imaginary."
Borough councillor Andrew Chard, who also sits on the parish council, said: "I am confused. We have gone from having a Leglag saying that they didn't want any development to them having an animal farm. Unless we get a concept that is conceivable we are wasting our time. It has to be realistic."
The idea for a farm park is based on Cotswold Farm Park while the purpose of the research institute would be to develop cutting edge technologies, working with other nearby universities.
Kit Braunholtz, chairman of Leglag, said he hoped that, even if all three ideas become a reality, they would only take up one tenth of the land.
The plans will be brought back for the parish council to consider in March.