Agenda item

21/02019/FUL St Marys Church, Well Walk


The Senior Planning Officer introduced the report relating to various external works within the grounds of Cheltenham Minster in connection with the Minster Exchange regeneration project.  The application was at Committee as Cheltenham Borough Council was the applicant.


Mark Sheldon, Director of Corporate Projects Cheltenham Borough Council, spoke in favour of the application stating that the grounds around the Grade I listed Minster were subject to anti-social behaviour and vandalism and were not a place where people wished to spend time.  The application proposed significant repair and improvement to the public realm in the churchyard respecting the sensitive space around the church.  Seating would be provided, CCTV installed and tree maintenance would provide a lighter space.  New planting would enhance the biodiversity of the area and pathways would be upgraded making it accessible for all with improved vehicular access.  It would have a positive impact on The Wilson, the library and businesses in the area and would reconnect the space with the High Street and Clarence Street. The regeneration would provide a positive, economic and social impact transforming the area into a more welcoming environmentally friendly space where people would want to spend more time.


In answer to member questions, the Officer confirmed that:

·         Bollards would be installed to regulate vehicular access and prevent tyre damage to the area.

·         The comments about enhancing the historic lamps would be passed on to the relevant people.

·         The brass markers in the pavement would be retained.


The Chair moved to debate and the following comments were made by Members:

·         The ambition of the Council to enhance the Minster has to be supported.  It is an isolated intimidating space that needs to be enhanced, the designs are good and innovative.

·         Concerned that the area currently suffers from much anti-social behaviour and graffiti and not sure these plans will totally alleviate that.

·         Needs to be a good maintenance programme for the perennial planting.

·         All about ownership – always felt it a threatening space.  Need to encourage families to visit the space, take ownership of it and this would change the balance of the feel of the area and highlight the architectural importance of the Minster.

·         Anti-social behaviour was down to enforcement, other areas of the town had overcome this problem.  If families use the area the anti-social people will move on.  The plans will enhance the Minster.

·         Need to ensure suitable vehicular access for people with mobility problems attending the church as well as for support services delivering, for example flowers, to the church and area needs to be well maintained once completed.


The Chair concluded by saying this was an area of Cheltenham not to be proud of and that had been let go over the years and that this scheme was a very positive enhancement to the town and would become a great place to spend time.  He congratulated the Officers involved in this and gave it his full support. 


There being no further comments the Chair moved to vote on the Officer’s recommendation to permit.


FOR : 8




GRANTED unanimously

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