With the Joint Core Strategy’s (JCS) final Public Consultation Phase only having began earlier this week, it really seems quite incredible that a Developer has already began moves towards building over 500 homes and a School on the Northern side of Ashchurch Camp.
Earmarked as part of the JCS Strategic Allocation which includes the Camp, comments suggesting that the Developer concerned may have jumped the gun are already well in circulation. However, it could be asked if this Plan gives a better illustration of the approach which nearly all commercial developers are employing, and one which certainly doesn’t fit with phrases they use to describe their plans in their publicity brochures, such as ‘homes which are much needed by the community’. This does after all come hot on the heels of two other developments in the immediate vicinity which will themselves supply around 300 new homes in the Ashchurch Rural Parish – and which without the JCS being formally ‘rubber stamped’ are regrettably no less likely to go ahead.
So even without the 2000 or more homes earmarked for the Ashchurch Camp at some point between now and 2030, just this Parish alone stands to absorb the better part of a thousand homes with not even the merest hint of comparable job creation in the area of a kind which would necessitate even a fraction of this level of development in the immediate area any time soon.
Sadly, this can only lead people living around the Ashchurch with Walton Cardiff Ward to conclude that these homes – if built – will be occupied by commuters who will most likely have 2 cars per household, thereby adding around perhaps 1500 cars to either the A46, the B4079, the roads around Northway or in fact all of them each morning, evening and basically any other time.
Many Residents are already feeling dumbstruck by the quick-fire succession of opportunist Developments along the A46. With an even bigger one that nobody had expected to hear sight nor sound of until the fate of the Camp was definitely known, now on the cards, it is the realities which surround the traffic problems on the A46 which are causing universal concern.
At Monday evening’s Meeting of Ashchurch Rural Parish Council’s Planning Committee, the Developer now carrying out consultation on building 45 homes South of Ashchurch Village was more than happy that the Highways Agency had expressed no concern with regard to the impact their plans would have on the A46, despite the experiences that many of us have almost daily.
With the Representatives present stating to the Council that they had been advised their Plans would have no excessive impact on the capacity of the road network – basically an indication that Highways Officials believe the roads can take more traffic without any major change – it is perhaps little wonder that Developers are apparently falling over themselves to get their Projects built before they find themselves having to contribute to what will at some point become a very expensive process of extensive restructuring the existing Roads or building a new by-pass of some kind – if that indeed remains possible by that time.
My views and approach to the JCS are well known by Residents and I take no pleasure from seeing the chaos which this flawed Strategy is causing to Communities right across Tewkesbury Borough, even before it actually comes into being.
I, like a number of other Tewkesbury Borough Councillors made clear at a variety of points in the process that the best solution for Residents was a Strategy which focused on the Borough – not least of all because of the delays which would inevitably be caused by working with two other Authorities which themselves had much more to gain by drawing out the process for as long as it takes for them to get the best solution to their own Development problems. That unnecessarily delayed process which is being used as a significant window of opportunity by Developers continues, and it seems to be all at the cost of Residents in Tewkesbury Borough and the Ashchurch with Walton Cardiff Ward in particular.
We can only hope that when these Proposals reach the Borough Planning Committee, they are rejected on the basis of what has already been promised by this Policy, and in the case of the Development North of the Camp, held back until such time as the Community will not be expected to experience perhaps years of inconvenience and enhanced levels of danger because the infrastructure doesn’t exist that will lead to Residents experiencing otherwise.