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Gloucestershire Business News

New life for chicken farm at last?

Developers hope new business will flock to a former chicken farm near Winchcombe after the Planning Inspectorate ruled that a contested bid can finally go ahead. 

And given interest in the derelict zone from zombie hunters, the move may be just in time for any nervous neighbours.

Tewkesbury Borough Council planners initially turned down a bid by Coolglass Developments Ltd at the former Poultry Farm on Evesham Road, at Greet, in December 2021. Previous bids for changes to the site dated back for two decades.

Planners cited concerns over relevance to the council's employment creation strategy, drainage and safety considerations from private vehicle use. The bid was for redevelopment of the area for office use, a solar farm and associated works.

The proposal requested demolition of all existing buildings with replacement by groups of smaller but slightly taller commercial buildings to the east of where they currently stand.

Planning Inspector JP Sargent ruled: "The proposed buildings would not be appreciably larger than what is now on site and while they would be taller, they would still be relatively low, single-storey structures," adding that the development would "sit with comfort in the landscape".

The report also noted that an equivalent residential scheme would have more "paraphernalia" and be "less sympathetic to the rural locality".

While acknowledging that other areas in Greet and WInchcombe had easier access, access was ruled "reasonable", he added.

Adam White, principal planner at Cheltenham-based Evans Jones consultants said: "Despite not strictly according with the Council's employment policies, the Inspector found the benefits outweigh the harms of redeveloping this derelict site. It's good to see support for economic development such as this."

A final go ahead may be seen as bad news among internet fans of atmospheric disused property. In 2021, the exploration website "28DaysLater", a reference to the cult zombie horror film of the same name, listed the land as an inspiring venue for followers.

The site said: "This old farm on the outskirts of Winchcombe was previously used as a Poultry farm before falling into dis-use around 20 years ago. There is a small house that seem to have been left empty long before the rest of the farm units were. There is Planning permission to turn the site into houses has been applied for a few times, and as recent as 2018, but has been rejected each time."

Forum responses to a report on the site suggested many visitors had either already looked around the site or intended to visit.

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