Residents hit out at decision to approve housing plans in Cam
8:20am Thursday 20th December 2012 in News By Daniel Chipperfield, senior reporter covering Dursley, Cam, Wotton-under-Edge, Sharpness, Slimbridge, Berkeley, Coaley, Uley, North Nibley, Stinchcombe and Cambridge
ANGRY residents have hit out at councillors for approving controversial plans for a new housing estate in Cam that will see the local authority net a windfall of up to £150,000.
Developers Robert Hitchings have had four planning applications for 20 to 30 homes surrounding Grade II listed building, Tilsdown House, turned down in the past 10 years.
However Stroud District Council's development control committee gave the go-ahead to a 12-house development in Springfields on one side of the building at a meeting on Tuesday, December 11.
The application received 31 letters of objection from residents who were concerned about extra traffic that would be generated.
It comes after the council agreed a deal with the developers in July to sell a piece of land which gains access to the site for a third of the proceeds from its future sale – providing planning permission was agreed – netting the council a potential £150,000.
Of the nine-strong committee, two voted against the application and seven for, yet no councillor spoke of their full support for the application.
Robert Combes, who has lived at Springfields for 15 years, spoke out at the meeting.
"This application is different because what I call an incentive is on offer of £150,000 which I believe is a disgrace," he said.
"I would ask you, who are voting tonight, would you vote away your parking near your houses and homes? I think not.
"The estate was never designed to take through traffic. It will ruin the community spirit that prevails at the moment."
Head of planning Phil Skill said the case officer's recommendation was based on the fact that the proposed estate no longer covered the area in front of the house.
"We were obliged to sell the land as it would allow the development to take place and the money could be used for the public good."
Mr Skill also said the Highways Department believed the road could take the increase in traffic and that alternative parking was already available.
Justin Wilmshurst and his wife Sarah are hoping to purchase Tilsdown House with a view to conserve it and make it their family home.
"I’m very disappointed in the decision, I don’t think they have listened to their voters," he said.
"Nobody at all has complimented the application, no one had anything positive to say about it. I am appalled after seeing so many objections.
"It is not democracy. It stinks."
In response to the complaints, a spokesman for Stroud District Council said: "Our planners and councillors make recommendations and decisions on applications using their professional knowledge and experience.
"Whilst people will naturally feel disappointed when an application, which they do not favour, is approved, it should be remembered that these decisions are made on the planning merits alone."
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