The fight is on to save a large area of countryside from a proposed development which campaigners say would turn Cam from a village into a town.

A request for a so-called screening opinion has been put to Stroud District Council relating to 315 homes on land behind Tesco in Cam near Rowley. 

Screening is an early stage in a planning application and seeks to determine if a proposed development would impact on the environment. 

If approved, the plans would join a total of just over 2,000 homes proposed by Bathurst Ltd in other planning developments which stretch from the Upthorpe road across towards Draycott and Box Road, with some plans extending as far as Slimbridge.

The development is known as Millfields. 

SDC has already granted planning permission for 725 of the 2,120 homes, with the remaining houses being allocated as part its local planning review.

Cam Parish Council says the plans with the extra 315 properties would amount to two-thirds more homes than the developers originally promised and say if approved the village would lose its character. 

Jonathan Fulcher, chair of Cam Parish Council, said: “The development that hangs over our heads is disturbing. We are a village that’s being taken over by housing. 

“These homes are not for local people. There is this push to move to be near the countryside area - but soon there might not be much countryside left.

“I want my children and grandchildren to still be able to enjoy the countryside.”

Resident Ali Pearce who lives near the planned development in Rowley said: “During recent bad weather the river came up to our garden and up the bottom of the field on the other side which is exactly where they’re planning to build those houses. Where’s the water going to go?”

Abi Nicol, another resident, said: “I think this is a really worrying proposal from a developer. I believe this land will not cope with this level of building.

“How will our infrastructure cope when there will be so many more houses covering all the fields from Box Road to Rowley? 

“Environments will be changed forever, wildlife gone and cheap ineffective homes built.

"I know we need houses, but we need clever, careful thinking to create the right community that supports all our needs.” 

The campaigners are also concerned because the development could impact on the Rackleaze Nature Reserve.

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The site is popular with dog walkers, families and bird-watchers.

With a small wetland area and native trees, the area also has impoprtant wildlife habitats that support biodiversity in the area.

The land forms part of a wider development area 

Bathurst Ltd is seeking to develop Millfields with two business parks, a landscaped riverside park, play areas and open spaces and a network of cycle routes and footpaths planned alongside the homes.

Bovis Homes has nearly completed the construction of 141 homes along Box Road near Cam and Dursley train station.

Cam was first ear-marked for the development in the district council’s local plan which was formally adopted at the end of 2015.

But now plans have since been expanded to include new sites.

Christopher Evans, Stroud district councillor for Cam West, said: “I oppose the current plans for the development of Cam.

"I think it's necessary to be realistic and understand that there will be more houses.

“However, the problem is the scale of development planned for Cam, it's too much. Cam seems to be unfairly targeted as a location for development

“I hope that any development is done sensibly, sympathetically and with proper infrastructure.”

A Stroud District Council spokesperson said: “The application is on a site which is a proposed housing allocation in the draft local plan.

"The planning officer has met with the applicants and discussions about the proposed development are ongoing.”

Michele Davis, area sales director for Vistry Cotswolds which is partnered with Bovis Homes, previously said: “Millfields is not only providing new homes, but boosting the local economy through the delivery of new business parks and creating green spaces for the benefit of the whole community.”

Bathurst Ltd was approached for comment.

Anyone wishing to view the application should do so by visiting quoting reference 2022/0369/EIAS