AN APPEAL has been upheld allowing the building of 71 homes in Cam to combat a shortfall in housing – 17 months after the original application.

Stroud District Council have said they are "disappointed" with the decision to allow permission for the development on Box Road and are considering calling for a judicial review of the Planning Inspector’s process.

The original application by Hallam Land Management was in August 2011 but refused in November 2012 by the district council.

A two-day public inquiry was held in February 2012 after the developers appealed and a decision was expected by April that year.

Cllr Dennis Andrewartha (Cam West, Lib Dem) executive member for planning for Stroud District Council, called the inspector’s report "Bizarre" and said the council would take legal advice on the issue.

"It has taken the Planning Inspectorate 11 months to provide a decision and this is in clear breach of its commitment to make timely decisions," he said.

"Because of the delay, there is uncertainty over the quality of the decision as it appears to contradict appeals on other applications which were heard after the Box Road hearing, and which reported back many months ago, for example Sellars Farm.

In May 2012 developers won a battle to build 200 homes at Sellars Farm after appealing against Stroud District Council’s refusal, despite planning officers suggesting it go ahead.

"This decision is likely to significantly damage our attempts to reach a consensus on a constructive Local Plan, allowing us to provide both jobs and homes throughout our district in a planned and organised manner over the next 20 years," added Cllr Andrewartha.

"It puts many communities at risk from predatory developers and does nothing in helping SDC provide the infrastructure necessary to attract employment." Development The council's chief executive, David Hagg, is seeking an urgent meeting with the Planning Inspectorate's policy and quality director, Rynd Smith, to discuss believed ambiguities and differing approaches taken by two inspectors on inquiries only a few weeks apart.

The Planning Inspectorate said they regretted the delay, citing the inspector, John Roberts, falling ill as one reason for the setback.

A spokesman said more time was also given to allow interested parties the opportunity to make new comments regarding the introduction of the National Policy Framework during the application.

In his report, Mr Roberts said the need for affordable housing "carried considerable weight" in his decision.

"It is undisputed that the delivery of affordable housing has worsened in recent years, so that the unmet demand is increasing," he said.

"I have also regarded other concerns relating to flooding, safety, archaeology, wildlife and other matters raised by local residents, none of these is of sufficient weight to alter my conclusion."