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Plans to Build 650 Homes Rejected by UK Government

The Secretary of State has refused to grant planning permission to build up to 650 new homes at Leckhampton in south Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

The announcement follows a local inquiry that took place between September 22 to 25 and September 29 to October 2 of last year.

The refusal was accompanied by a comprehensive report that reviewed the primary issues taken into account by the Inspector and considered by the Secretary of State.

Bovis Homes and Miller Homes submitted a bid to build up to 650 new residences as well as a primary school, retail outlets, and a surgery.

The two companies spent years compiling a scheme intended to provide Leckhampton and the surrounding area with badly-needed housing.

Hundreds of local residents, however, objected to the proposals, citing concerns that the new houses could elevate local flood risk, fill existing schools to breaking point, and cause gridlocks on the roads.

The land slated for development is part of a bigger site that forms the focal point of an ambitious housing plan compiled by the councils in Cheltenham, Gloucester, and Tewkesbury.

 

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Cllr Andrew McKinlay, development and safety cabinet member, said he was glad that the Secretary of State had given serious thought to the council’s concerns about the planning application and consequently agreed that the council’s vote to reject the application was the right thing to do.

Cllr Steve Jordan, council leader, said that the decision acknowledged the concerns that were expressed on prematurity. He called it a triumph for local democracy and added that the Inspector’s findings on the Joint Core Strategy are expected to be released at the end of the month.

Director of Planning Tracey Crews said that officers are presently working through the issues brought up by the appeal decision, with the primary reasons for rejection being the adverse affect on local highways and the landscape. Concerns raised raised by the debate on Local Green Space had also contributed to the refusal.

In presenting their case for the development to go ahead, the appellants also provided an award of costs, claiming that the council had been unreasonable when making its decision.

When considering the application for costs, the Secretary of State decided that there was no appreciable proof that unreasonable council actions had resulted in unnecessary expenditures, and that an award of costs was not called for in that instance.

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