CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new house in Hempsted have been stalled by councillors after objections from scores of villagers.
An application for a two-storey three-bedroom house was deferred by councillors at Gloucester City Council at a meeting tonight. Half of the planning committee approved of the plans, while others objected. Chairman Gordon Taylor used his casting vote to force a deferral. Councillors will now visit the site before making a decision.
The house would be built south of Rectory Lane and would be around 20 metres away from the rear of properties in Chartwell Close. The land is a former farmyard which was partly developed upon in the 1970s to provide the neighbouring houses. Planning officers have recommended it for approval.
VIDEO: Councillors split on decision
Hempsted Residents Association objected to the proposal along with more than 25 other residents. The group argued that building a house in the area would affect the ‘green, rural village character’ and could expose an important habitat for wildlife, such as greater crested newts, to new dangers.
Other residents complained about poor highway access to the site and fear that they will no longer be able to use the area for dog walks and rambling. A spokeswoman for the Chartwell Close Residents Association said: “The area offers pleasing views and until recently was regularly crossed over by walkers until it become overgrown.”
She added that residents feared that their privacy would be intruded upon and that their views of the countryside would be obstructed despite a condition preventing windows on the side of the house that overlooks the nearby homes.
Councillor Lise Noakes (C, Barnwood) said: “I have been to see the site and it is horrendous. It is hugely congested there already and this is completely inappropriate. It is absolutely dreadful.”
Councillor Gordon Taylor (C, Abbey) said: “Not only is the access to the site awful, but I do have concerns about the site overlooking some of the nearby properties. It could have an overbearing impact.”
But in her report to councillors, planning officer Caroline Townley said: “It is considered that its visual impact will be relatively minimal.
“The site is softened by the existing hedgerow and trees on the surrounding farmland from the longer distance views.
“The existing properties in Chartwell Close currently enjoy an open aspect with views over agricultural land and it is acknowledged that the proposed development will alter this look. However, the right to a view and potential impact on the value of properties are not material planning considerations.”
Developers will have to carry out an archaeological dig before any work could start, however, as the site is located on the edge of Hempsted village, which dates back to the late Saxon period.
Roman pottery and glasswork were recovered 70 metres north of the site suggesting potential for more archaeological remains to be found.