Agenda item

21/00847/REM Land at Kidnappers Lane, Cheltenham


The case officer introduced the reserved matters application for 22 new dwellings, including nine affordable units, following the outline application for 25 houses on the site which was granted on appeal.   The proposed development at Kidnappers Lane will comprise 13 detached dwellings, with the affordable element made up of four flats and five houses, all of which will achieve 100% zero net carbon emissions.  Technical issues, and affordable housing and highways concerns have been resolved, and officers consider the scheme to be high quality, well designed and appropriate.  The recommendation is to approve, with conditions as set out in the report.

Public Speakers

Mr Alan Bailey, a local resident, felt that the proposal does not reflect the Cheltenham Plan,  as required in the Inspector’s report, increasing traffic, and without sustainable transport links.  The Highways response was disappointing - no cycle paths or footways through the area or to the centre of Cheltenham, GCHQ or Shurdington, no acknowledgement of the other development along the A46, and worsening pollution at the Moorend crossroads.  No additional infrastructure is proposed – the doctor’s surgery is full, there are no shops within a mile, the nearest indoor leisure facilities are at Pittville, thus not meeting equality standards.  There is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, but when assessed against all the policies in the NPPF, this proposal does not address Sections 6, 7, 8, 9 and 14.

Mr Craig Cobham, representing Newland Homes, told Members that Newland Homes is an award-winning local company, providing well-designed homes across the south of England, and with a successful record of delivery, especially in Cheltenham.  This proposal responds to the unique character of the site and its surroundings, following engagement with the Parish Council, and offers high-standard, carefully-crafted homes which reflect 21st century living, enhance the location and, for the first time in Cheltenham, achieve a zero-carbon rating, outdoing current government targets and going beyond the obligations of local policy.

Councillor Nelson was aware of the site’s history, and the significant impact of both parish and borough councillors in getting the proposal to its current state.  She said this disused site was crying out for development – the original proposal for 45 houses was refused, the subsequent scheme for 25 houses granted at appeal - and she welcomed this well-presented, rural development proposal for 22 houses, which will provide quality, sustainable, carbon-neutral homes, including nine affordable units, and appropriate tree-planting.  It will blend in well with the Leckhampton community and she was happy to support the proposal.

Councillor Horwood, while understanding the concerns of local residents, supported the proposal, reminding Members that Policy MD4 of the Local Plan, for 350 new homes in this area, had been accepted by the Inspector and the Parish Council.  Newland Homes had engaged well – modified the design, height and number of dwellings – and, the biggest positive, this is the first zero-carbon rated housing by a commercial developer.  As a lifelong campaigner, he drew Members’ attention to the IPCC report to Cop26, which stated that rapid, immediate action was required and new homes should not add to the existing problems.  He welcomed this proposal and hoped it will be the start of a revolution.  Newland Homes should be congratulated, and he urged the Committee to vote in support.

Member questions

In response to questions from Members, the officer confirmed that:

-          mention in the report to cladding on party walls referred to the affordable houses;

-          the outline application set the principle, and this reserved matters application fills in the blanks – together they are the equivalent of a full planning application;

-          CIL will be applied for at the point of commencement, depending on the final scheme; a S106 was agreed at the outline stage, concerned with affordable housing and management of the open space on the site;

-          a footpath is scheduled as part of the school proposal, although there is no date at present.  This site will join onto the path, and it will be a dual cycle and footpath;

-          the nearest bus stop is on Shurdington Road – approximately 10 minutes’ walk from the site.  The Inspector of the outline proposal felt that this was reasonable.

Member debate

A Member was delighted that Newland Homes have achieved what many builders have said was unachievable and unaffordable – carbon neutral homes, the first commercially available in Cheltenham.  This is the only way forward.  Another Member commented on how refreshing it was to have an applicant not just out to make money, but reducing the scheme from 25 to 22 dwellings, and engaging with the community.  He hoped they would build more homes in the town.

Vote on officer recommendation to permit

10 in support – unanimous


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