Agenda item

22/00112/OUT Land Adjacent to Oakhurst Rise


The planning officer introduced the report as published.


There were three speakers on the item, an objector, the agent on behalf of the applicant and a Ward Councillor.


The objector made the following points:

·         The objector started by requesting a deferral as the ecology report was only uploaded the night before and there had not been an opportunity to review them.

·         The reports will give you to believe that all the issues have been resolved but they have not.

·         Primary school children have found more species of moth and grasses than the ecologists.

·         Natural England advice has been tightened up to avoid destroying nature.  This application will destroy a badger sett.

·         There have been over 120 species of moth identified on the site.

·         There is a claim that this should not be allocated as a local wildlife site, however it clearly is.  There is no mention of the hay cuts that are carried out.

·         Due to Severn Trent there are 64 years’ worth of sewerage and the last time that there was a problem Charlton Court Road bore the brunt of the overflow of waste matter.

·         Historic England still object as do the Woodland Trust.


The agent on behalf of the applicant made the following points:


·         The site has been allocated for a minimum of 25 homes to contribute to the housing needs of the whole community in Cheltenham.

·         There has been no objection from the Highway Authority, there has never been refusal on grounds of accessibility or highways.

·         Neither Planning Inspector has refused planning permission for larger housing schemes on grounds of adverse impact on the AONB.

·         Neither Natural England or the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has raised objections to the scheme.

·         The management of the open space provides maximum mitigation and enhancement to the badgers in the short, medium and long term.

·         There has been no objection from Severn Trent and the LLFA confirm that the drainage is acceptable.

·         There has been no harm identified to residential amenity.

·         There have been no objections from Sport England.

·         The Council’s specialist heritage officer has stated that the application has been significantly amended and should not be objected to in heritage terms.

·         The Council’s Tree Officer does not object subject to the 5 conditions that specifically relate to the protection of trees.

·         Officers have concluded that there has been a good response to the Climate Change SPD by these proposals.


Councillor Matt Babbage then spoke as the Ward Councillor and made the following points:

·         With regard to the three previous applications the decisions have been upheld. 

·         Some of the same objections still remain, road access is still an issue.

·         A recent inspection raised possible harm to heritage assets and habitats.

·         There is conflict with HD4, SD8 and SD9

·         There was a request made for a deferral as the 70 pages of ecological report had been published less than 24 hours before the committee.

·         It was stated that the new plans did not differ that much from the new plans with regard to wildlife etc.



The responses to Member questions were as follows:

·         The main part of the road will be adopted.

·         Anything that has planning permission will be included in the five year plan housing land supply if considered to be deliverable – outline permission is the first step.

·         The report that was released late was a report that was received in the Summer and it was belatedly realised that it was not in the correct format to go on the website.  The report outlines net 10% diversity gain, which meant that officers felt it was not necessary to defer as there is no policy for net 10% diversity gain.

·         Badgers and their setts are protected under the Badgers Act, the main sett will not be destroyed.

·         There have been no changes in legislation.  The climate change SPD that was adopted recently has a provision for a management plan.

·         The clauses within S106 will be transferred to the future owner(s).

·         The provision 106 with regard to the management company has to be agreed with the Council.

·         The site makes provision for pathways that will link up with Oakhurst Rise.

·         There is a provision in 106 with regard to hedge maintenance and the frequency that these tasks will be carried out.  Officers are confident that this will be adhered to, however there is a potential to transfer these tasks to the Council going forward.

·         The badgers setts will be addressed in such a way that the entrances will be replaced with one way door which will mean that they cannot return to the same set but will naturally move to the new manmade set. 

·         The Historic England comments have not been addressed by this application.  Their concerns were mostly regarding Ashley Manor and Charlton Manor and their views being affected by development.

·         The highways authority expected that there would be street lights

·         The biodiversity net gain provisions of the legislation enacted last year were not yet in force.



The matter then went to Member debate where the following points were made:

·         Even though the amount of houses has been reduced in the current application with reference to drainage there would still be the same run off.  Have been informed that there is a flooding issue in the area.

·         There are no financial benefits to the school or any other charitable order.

·         Street lights will not help the badgers as they are nocturnal animals.

·         It is not known how soon these properties will be built.

·         Nothing in the report states that the buildings will look like the outline in the presentation, the hearing was just to agree the principal development, this application is for outline permission.

·         The open aspect of the area needs to be preserved.

·         The committee has been advised on three occasions to permit and each time a refusal has been upheld. 

·         There should be a move to refuse based on the same reasons as before.

·         The number of houses seem an appropriate number for the site.

·         The developer has taken into account residents’ concerns re bio-diversity and environmental issues.

·         The listed properties are impacted by the proposed development and that is a concern.

·         There is no real gain of building ten social housing properties as there are thousands waiting for housing.

·         Homes are desperately needed in Cheltenham, but it is the right site?  There are plenty of brown field sites that could be built on in the Borough, but the green field sites need to be protected.

·         Whatever is built on the site will ruin this special area for wildlife.

·         The application was previously refused due to the aspect to the Grade 2 and Grade 2* listed buildings.

·         The site is one of the most precious bio-diverse sites in the town and if the houses are built  badger setts will be lost.

·         It was acknowledged that the applicant has been persistent,  but the committee recognise the importance of the site.


The matter then went to the vote on the officers recommendation to permit subject to completion of the s106 agreement:

For: 2

Against: 9





A motion for refusal was then made on the basis that the application is contrary to policies SD8, SD9 and HD4 in respect of heritage and bio-diversity.


Members stated that they wished it noted that officers had put in a large amount of effort on this application.  It was asked by the Chair if one of the reasons for refusal could be given as an impact on flora and fauna, with impact on badgers  Officers confirmed that heritage and the bio-diversity of the site would be used for the refusal notice. The Legal Advisor warned that unless there were matters beyond those the previous appeal Inspector had found to be satisfactorily dealt with by virtue of s106 provisions, there could be a risk of an award of costs as regards an ecology refusal ground.


The matter went to the vote on the motion to refuse:

For: 9

Against: 0

Abstentions: 2


Cllr Barnes and Cllr Clark then left the meeting.









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