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Gloucestershire Business News

EXCLUSIVE: Elms Park land to be sold off as decision on 4,115-home plans delayed

A decision over the huge 4,115-home Elms Park masterplan has been pushed back to 2024.

It had been due before councillors this year but has been delayed as more work is needed on how it will affect the road network.

Last week Gloucestershire County Council agreed to sell off a huge chunk of public land which forms a large part of the Elms Park site.

The land in north west Cheltenham will be sold off for an undisclosed sum to help the county council raise £47m for its programme of capital works.

Elms Park is the biggest ever development on former greenbelt land and could take more than 10 years to complete. It includes a 25-acre business park, hotel, three schools and transport hub.

The first phase, Swindon Farm, was approved in March  and Persimmon Homes and Bloor Homes submitted their outline application (16/02000/OUT) for the wider Elms Park scheme in May 2022.

Developers have said it would see an estimated £1billion invested into the construction sector and the creation of 5,000 jobs.

The site spans land in Swindon Village, Elmstone, Hardwicke, Uckington and the A4019 Tewkesbury Road and was allocated for a mixed urban extension in the Joint Core Strategy.

It falls within the administrative areas of Cheltenham Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council and they will determine the application together next year.

A spokesperson for Cheltenham Borough Council told Punchline: "The application will not be presented to Cheltenham and Tewkesbury planning committees this year.

"A target date has not been set as this is dependent on understanding the modelling work.

"In the meantime, officers are briefing members on the technical details of the scheme on November 28 in preparation for an application being presented to committees in 2024."

The county council agreed to sell its portion of the land at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (Nov 22).

Cllr Lynden Stowe (Con, Campden-Vale), cabinet member for finance and change, said: "It is very much a key part of the housing delivery and supply of our district partners."

He highlighted that the Elms Park plans show 279-acres of land will be kept to enhance the natural environment and development on the floodplain will be avoided.

The land holding at North West Cheltenham was originally declared surplus in 2013 and then earmarked for sale in March 2023 as part of the Rural Strategic Estate Plan 2016 - 2030.

Cllr Stowe said specialist property consultants and lawyers were being used to help "maximise the value of this asset".

Money from the sale will go towards the council's target of achieving £47m in capital receipts between April 2021 and March 2025. It needs the cash to avoid having to borrow money for its capital programme.

In 2021/22 it achieved land sales totalling £6.539m and in 2022/23 they were more than £7.5m.

Cllr Stowe added: "What we want to do is ensure best value for the council in the disposal of this land so that it makes a contribution to our capital receipts targets."

Cabinet voted to approve the sale.

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