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Councillors vote to preserve green belt in Churchdown by rejecting Ashville Business Park expansion plans

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 09, 2014

Ashville Business park

Ashville Business park

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Economic growth versus the joys and importance of the greenbelt was the argument when councillors were asked to rule on the expansion of a Gloucestershire business park.

And the greenbelt won, at least this time.

Ashville Business Park in Churchdown had applied to the planning committee of Tewkesbury Borough Council for permission to expand.

It wanted to build another 16,000 square metres of floorspace for business, industrial and storage use.

The land it wanted to move into is greenbelt land to the east of Commerce Road off the Cheltenham Road, which forms the boundary of most of the industrial estate.

Although planning officers at the authority had recommended refusal of the scheme lead member for economic development Councillor David Waters, even though not a member of the committee, spoke in favour of the plan.

Councillor Waters (C, Coombe Hill) said: “There is not enough employment land in the borough. We need to have the opportunity for an improving economy, we need to give businesses space to expand and reasons to stay.”

Councillor Waters' point was supported by his fellow Conservative, Councillor Jim Mason.

Coun Mason (C, Conservative) said: “We are building 33,000 houses on the greenbelt under the Joint Core Strategy. perhaps not all of the people who will live in those 33,000 houses will want jobs but a high percentage will. We need employment for those houses.”

But Councillor Jude Perez (LD, Brockworth) said: “This application is inappropriate in the Greenbelt. The application doesn’t give sufficient circumstances to encroach on the greenbelt.”

And Councillor Pearl Stokes (LD, Churchdown) said that people who move to the area will continue to work where their skills are needed and added: “I will protect for as long as we can the green belt.I will fight as hard as I can to protect the area.

Councillors voted 11 to six to refuse permission for the expansion of the business park.

Paul Fong, the planning consultant for Ashville Staverton Ltd who run the park said, after the decision: “It’s very sad that the imperative in every successful economy for growth has just been ignored.”

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