I attended the Meeting of Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Planning Committee, and spoke to the Members when item 3 on the Agenda was considered, covering the Pamington Lane Development (Ref: 14/00972/OUT)
Following here is what said to the Committee:
Thank you Chair, Members of the Committee will regrettably already be well aware of the background of opportunistic applications such as this one, where unscrupulous developers and land owners are seeking to exploit the loopholes which exist whilst we await the conclusion of the JCS process.
As you will all be well aware, Ashchurch has been identified as a Strategic Site within the JCS, and is as such already targeted to receive well beyond two thousand new homes, in addition to commercial development opportunities; all focused to the north of the A46 at the Army Camp Site.
Whilst it has served some to suggest that this Strategic allocation would not enter the development pipeline until a date much nearer the 2031 end of the JCS Policy lifetime, I would ask that Members note that an Outline Application has already been submitted for some 550 homes and related built infrastructure within this Strategic Site.
Members of this Committee will I am sure, understand very well the nature of the statement such an Application is making about the timescale in which the Ashchurch Site is expected to be online by developers, even if that specific plan could be seen in some ways to be jumping the gun, given the information that is known publicly about the future of the Ashchurch site at this time.
The Application you are being asked to consider today is located literally on the other side of the A46 from the Ashchurch Strategic Site, but clearly not within it. In fact, if the JCS had already been rubber stamped by the Secretary of State, this site would theoretically remain untouched for at least another 16 years. The considerable impact that Development in Ashchurch is going to have on Ashchurch Village, Aston Fields, Aston Cross, Aston on Carrant, Pamington, Northway, the A46 and surrounding travel infrastructure would have been given adequate opportunity to be considered strategically, and local Residents would at least feel there was some surety in what lies ahead in terms of the way their lives are going to be negatively effected, whilst those of a few others are financially enriched.
Instead, we are here today with an Application that does not consider the longer term in any way.
It does not give deference to Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Joint Core Strategy.
It does not give financial contribution to the significant transport infrastructure developments that are already needed for the A46 and surrounding road network that everyone apart from the Highways Agency accepts is already over capacity.
It does not consider the part it will play in the wider strategic impact that the combination of developments we now know to be possible will have on all the surrounding Villages. We will all lose out if requirements such as the already growing need for a localised GP facility in the Ashchurch and Northway area are not only considered in relation to applications such as this, but also fail to receive funding from all of these developments, thereby relinquishing any unnecessary requirements being placed upon the already overstretched public and NHS purse.
Most significantly for the people who will ultimately be most effected, it does not do anything to enhance local road safety for the Residents of Pamington, who have felt so strongly against the Plans as to create an online and growing Petition. With much commuter and local traffic likely to be heading from the site to Cheltenham or via the A435, or to Stow, Evesham or further afield heading East and seeking to avoid a difficult right turn on to a busy truck road, the current speed and safety problems generated by traffic using this access-only-designated Village as a convenient cut through are not exactly going to be reduced. I would like to say that Residents have confidence in the input and recommendations received from Gloucestershire Highways, but I cannot.
Councillors; there is no doubt that where developments along the A46 between J9 and Aston Cross are concerned, the whole is most certainly greater than the sum of its parts.
Residents are looking for protection from the local Planning Authority from opportunistic development of this kind and I have to say that even if some higher Authority were to ultimately overturn a refusal made here today, at least local people will know that when it came to this Site, Local Representation actually put local people first.
I urge Members to reject this Application, knowing that the JCS more than generously provides for the housing requirements of this Borough until 2031, and that Residents should be able to expect protection from their local Planning Authority in respect of development which falls outside of this.