Housing plan waits for strategy all-clear
DEVELOPERS will wait for councillors to agree a controversial housing strategy before submitting an application to build 650 homes in Leckhampton.
Cheltenham and Tewkesbury borough councils and Gloucester City Council are to vote on whether to agree to the Joint Core Strategy (JCS), which sets out where 33,449 homes will be built between 2011 and 2031.
If the document is given the all clear, Miller Homes and Bovis Homes will hand over their plans to build houses on land off Kidnappers Lane.
The land in question has been earmarked in the JCS as one of nine new strategic development sites where houses will be built to meet future needs.
It is the only site identified in Cheltenham that is not in the greenbelt.
The developers have said they plan to put in their application “shortly”, which is likely to mean within the next couple of weeks.
The announcement comes after the Leckhampton Forum, a panel of local people which has been involved in the process of drawing up the plans, met to discuss the blueprint on Thursday.
In addition to the houses, the application will also include provision for protected public open space, a new primary school and a GP surgery as well as other community facilities.
The developers believe the proposals will create close to 1,000 jobs for the local economy.
Steve Carey, spokesperson for Miller Homes and Bovis Homes, said: “Miller Homes and Bovis Homes are pleased to be submitting an application which is not in the greenbelt and can help Cheltenham meet its identified housing shortfall in a sustainable, considerate way.
“The application has incorporated some of the key points to come out of the Leckhampton Forum and wider consultation over the past two-and-a-half years, such as the need for a new GP surgery and the potential for a care home and/or a Cottage Hospital.”
The JCS strategy suggests the land at Leckhampton is suitable for 1,075 homes.
The Miller Homes and Bovis Homes development would be built on part of this land, but not all of it.
Councillor Andrew Chard (C, Leckhampton) said he is not overly surprised by the probable timing of the application.
He said: “This is not totally a surprise because they have been saying they would do this for a long, long time so we have been expecting it.
“When something has been promised for as long as this you do expect it.”
When asked if he felt the developers’ timing made it look as if they were “pouncing” on the land at the most opportune time, Mr Chard said: “I think that is a conclusion to which you could come.”