Recently Cotswold District Council (CDC) held a public meeting to determine the application by Bathurst Development Ltd. (BDL) proposing 2350 new homes in Chesterton, to the South of Cirencester.
The development proposes up to 2,350 new homes, with a percentage being affordable housing as well as student accommodation and homes for the elderly. BDL promise the site will offer over 1,600 new jobs, 100 acres of open space, plus a school, GP surgery and other associated amenities. The proposal also lays out Section 106 agreements to include provisions for town centre parking and updates, enhanced bus services and highways improvements.
The development would contribute to meeting the housing demands set out in the CDC local plans, which allocates this site as a strategic site for new residential development. The emerging local plan states ‘as 1/4 of the district’s population lives in Cirencester the town should continue to accommodate a sizeable share of the district’s future housing and employment needs’.
Since the application was first suggested in 2014, there has been a mixed public reaction to the proposal. The group Save Our Cirencester (SOC), along with a number of Counsellors and members of the general public are in agreement that residential development in Cirencester is not entirely a negative prospect, however a development of this scale is not appropriate for this site.
Objectors brought attention to the fact that the site is too far from the centre of town to promote walking or cycling, and would encourage an isolated community. Speakers at the meeting also raised concerns over access to the site, for vehicles and pedestrians.
After an eight-hour meeting, the outcome was to defer the application for up to three months in order to address issues with access to the site, amongst others, leaving the future of Cirencester up in the air for a further three months.