22/01117/FUL Imperial Gardens, Promenade, Cheltenham
5c. 22/01117/FUL Imperial Gardens, Promenade, Cheltenham
The Planning Officer (Victoria Harris) presented the report, which concerned the erection of temporary structures on pedestrian pavement along the Promenade, Imperial Gardens and the Long Gardens in relation to Christmas markets for a maximum of 41 days for two periods in 2022 and 2023. It was before the committee because the council owned the Long Gardens and Imperial Gardens.
There were none.
One Member asked whether the stalls would be in the gardens or on the pavement. The Planning Officer confirmed that they would largely be on the pavement.
One Member asked whether there had been a typo on the final slide suggesting that the site would continue until 2033. The Planning Officer confirmed that this should have read 2023.
One Member asked where the stalls would get their power. The Planning Officer responded that the council would provide an electrical power supply, but some stalls might need to use generators – most likely for hot food, and likely near the Neptune Fountain.
One Member asked whether diesel generators would be used. The Planning Officer responded that they were unsure at the moment as they did not yet know who the operators would be and the specific fuel they would need. They would ideally like to use hybrid generators, as expressed in the sustainability statement, but could not yet confirm what fuel would be used.
One Member noted that it would be a vibrant time of year on the Promenade, and so loud generators were undesirable.
One Member suggested adding a condition to ensure that the fuel used was the most environmentally friendly possible biodiesel.
One Member added that the lack of adequate mains power supply was a long-running issue, and it was hard to justify in the context of the council’s climate goals.
One Member noted that there was a clear conflict between the council’s goals to promote business and bring trade to the town, and its declaration of a climate emergency. They had just become one of the first authorities in the country to produce a Climate Change SPD, and were now suggesting that they could not control the kind of generators used in major events. The event would be good for the town but if they were going to allow diesel generators, it needed to be the last time.
One Member suggested that it should not be allowed with diesel generators, so the options were to either defer it or apply a condition. One Member suggested deferring it until they had greater clarity about who the operator will be and what fuel they will require. One Member suggested applying a condition of using biodiesel, though they acknowledged this was not a perfect solution. It was important to send a message that although they supported the event, diesel generators were unacceptable.
The Chair asked for guidance from officers on possible conditions. The Head of Planning clarified that they could apply a condition requiring hybrid or biofuel generators, as long as Members considered the possible reduced commercial viability as a result.
One Member cautioned against deferring the application due to its time sensitive nature.
One Member noted that one of Cheltenham’s key selling points was its reputation as a festival town, but it had also declared a climate emergency and clearly needed proper green electrification of the town centre to prevent issues like this reoccurring.
Vote on officer recommendation to permit, subject to a condition requiring the use of hybrid or biodiesel rather than diesel generators.