A MASSIVE development of 1,500 houses could start to be built at Sharpness within two and a half years as developers look to create a new garden village complete with a school and shops.
Led by GreenSquare Group and involving Hunter Page Planning, the massive development is planned for either side of the B4066 between Sharpness and Berkeley.
As part of the plans, a new primary school would be built and improvements made to Sharpness Primary School.
The proposal includes building a food store, shops and a cafe around a market square as well as a business innovation centre and new bus routes.
In addition, the developers plan to construct a doctor's surgery, community sports pitches and create a large common with footpaths and cycle ways and areas for food production.
Over 250 people turned up at Sharpness Village Hall on Tuesday, July 1, with mixed views on the plans.
Mal Williams, 65, who has owned Newton Post Office for the last 26 years, said he is not in favour of the plan because of the high number of houses on both sides of the busy road.
“It is being called a garden village but it is not, it is a town they want to build,” he said.
“There’s a lot of heavy goods vehicles coming down that road to the docks and that is a concern.”
But for Ben and Emma Keene, 38 and 37 respectively, part of their decision to move from Dursley to Cromwell Close a year ago was because they heard about this development.
“We are not married to the area like other people but my hope is that they can regenerate it like at Gloucester Docks and our house price will rise,” said Ben.
“The only thing we’re concerned with is that there is no secondary school planned and no nurseries in the area.”
Stroud District Cllr for the Berkeley area, Gordon Craig, said he preferred to see the tourism-based development at Sharpness Docks of 300 houses, a hotel and restaurant and water sports facilities go ahead instead, which was announced last year.
He added that bringing tourists to the area would be of much better benefit to the region.
“This proposal is far too big. I am concerned it is too far away from the planned area for business development laid out in the local plan,” he said.
“I am also concerned that there are empty offices at Berkeley Power Station which they can’t sell, so how are they going to sell these new ones?”
Jamie Lewis of Hunter Page Planning told the Gazette it was a “strategic opportunity” for SDC, who could choose between this plan and a 1,500-home application in Stonehouse to fill a perceived lack of housing in the up and coming local plan.
"Over 15 per cent were positive to the plans, which I think was better than we expected," he said.
"We're certainly very pleased with the people who took the time out to come and see us and fill in the forms. We do not want empathy here.
"From a consultation point of view we thought it went quite well and our client will look to respond to the points made."
Mr Lewis added in the best case scenario they could submit a planning application this summer and, if approved, could be building within two and a half years.
He said a project this size would take around 10 years and would likely involve three developers building 150 houses a year.