New plans for Starvehall Farm in Prestbury to be submitted in ten days
NEW plans for the controversial Starvehall Farm site could be put before planners next month.
But campaigners fighting the proposed Prestbury development fear it is being timed to cut the number of objections put forward.
They believe that many of those opposed to the application will be away on their summer break – leaving just a handful of people to fight it.
The initial plans, lodged by Nash Partnership on behalf of the Gloucestershire County Council, met a hostile reception from residents in the village .
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They have mounted a campaign against the application – with the Prestbury Green Working Group co-ordinating opposition. The proposal, which included plans for a 50-bed care home, an 80-bed nursery and up to 152 affordable homes, was originally due to be heard by Cheltenham Borough Council's planning committee in December.
But it has been repeatedly postponed to allow for a series of meetings between planners and applicants Nash Partnership, who are representing the county council.
Among the areas of contention is a road linking New Barn Lane with Prestbury Road and the loss of green space, leading to more problems with flooding.
Bob Stark, from the working group, said he had been told this week that the application would be submitted in the next 10 days.
He added: "The parish council meeting had been told this two weeks ago.
"We are really in the hands of the developers as to when they decide to submit them.
"As they would say at Heathrow, we are still in a holding pattern and are waiting for permission to land.
"I would think that we would be looking at August now before it comes before the planning committee. The cynics among us believe they are going to great lengths to make sure it is submitted at the beginning of the school holiday.
"It would mean there would not be the same number of people to fight this; people will be thinking about looking after their children or going on holiday rather than focusing on this."
But Mr Stark said the campaigners had been helped after the recent decision by the planning inspectorate to turn down an application for hundreds of home in nearby Hunting Butts Farm.
"It was good news for us about Hunting Butts," he added.
"If it had lost on appeal, then there would have been no hope for us in fighting this.
"This gives us confidence that the planning inspectorate will give us a voice which will be heard."