OUTLINE permission for a 39-home development in Cam has been deferred until the High Court has made a decision on a similar development next door.
While officers at Stroud District Council recommended approving the application at Coaley Junction in Draycott, councillors narrowly voted in favour of delaying it, with six voting for and five against.
Councillors at the packed-out development meeting at Ebley Mill expressed reservations on making a decision which could affect SDC’s challenge on the decision made by an independent planning inspector for a 71-home application on the adjacent Box Road.
This was despite assurances from SDC solicitors that it would not and it is unclear when the Box Road case will be considered by the High Court in London.
In the run up to the meeting on Tuesday, April 9 the proposed plan at Coaley Junction received a string of correspondence in objection, citing concerns with highway safety, access to amenities and sustainability.
And at the packed-out chamber, councillors also spoke about the need for more employment opportunities as well as housing.
Cllr John Marjoram (Green, Trinity) and Cllr Dorcas Binns (Cons, Minchinhampton) both questioned whether the site, currently industrial land partly used for self-storage containers, had been adequately marketed for further industrial use.
Planning officer Holly Simkiss said that while it wasn’t considered as part of the plan, she knew of an advertising sign that had been at the site for a few years but no interest had come of it.
Cllr Andy Read (Independent, Central) said that more mixed-use sites should be encouraged rather than solely housing.
"I am sensing a frustration from members of applications coming forward for housing on brownfield sites," he said.
"Our communities are telling us they want a mixture of housing and jobs and I do not think we as a council are delivering that. We need to take a harder line in the early negotiations with developers."
Head of planning Phil Skill advised councillors the applicant could appeal to the Planning Inspectorate for non-determination, meaning not making a decision within 13 weeks.
If the appeal is won the application would get the go-ahead.
Director Paul Burrell of Pegasus Planning, which submitted the application, spoke to the Gazette after the decision.
"Obviously we are disappointed that the councillors didn’t take their officer's strong advice and we will be reviewing our position accordingly," he said.
"The advice was pretty clear but they have decided against it, which of course is their own prerogative."