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Gloucestershire Business News

Go ahead for 16 homes amid "out-of-date" planning rules

Spades can finally go into the ground for 16 new homes to be built by Badminton Developments Ltd on Staunton and Corse's popular garden centre after the fine details of a Section 106 agreement were settled on the controversial project.

And the permission comes with a side-swipe at the local Development Plan for being "out-of-date".

As reported by in April , the 0.77 hectare site, formerly Staunton Garden Centre, has been passed by delegated authority after the Forest of Dean District Council's (FoDDC) full development committee visited the site and an extension was given on the project.

Along with five neighbours in adjacent properties who objected, Staunton Parish Council has consistently fought against the plan.

In consultations, the parish council told FoDDC: "We still feel that the design and layout of this proposed development does not support the ethos of the Chartist Settlement and just because it appears to be 'tucked away' is not a green light to permit a modern estate configuration in this location."

It added: "To conclude, the parish council do NOT support the revised scheme, as it still fails to enhance, preserve and has no public benefit to our village. With disregard to many aspects of the National Planning Policy Framework, alongside its failure to fit with local plan policies AP4, AP5 and CSP1."

The application was put through the full development committee since, in addition to being a major application, the owner of the site, Brian Lewis, is also an FoDDC councillor.

Officers told the committee: "The application is made in full and seeks to redevelop a former garden centre with housing. The proposal involves the demolition of the existing on-site buildings, the removal of the existing on-site hardsurfacing and the erection of sixteen dwellings formed around a cul-de-sac. An attenuation basin would be created in the north-west corner of the site as part of the surface water drainage strategy. A Local Area for Play (LAP) would be provided at the south of the site on the eastern side of the road into the development."

The LAP is designed for younger children in accordance with the Fields in Trust 'beyond the six acre standard' and will include a fenced or hedge-enclosed activity area, a bench, play boulders and stepping stones.

In outline, the 16 houses will comprise two one-bedroomed flats, three two-bedroomed houses, five three-bedroomed houses and six four-bedroomed houses.

In accordance with a Section 106 agreement, six units will be affordable housing: two two-bedroom houses and two one-bed flats to be marketed with affordable rent, along with a two-bedroom house and a three-bedroom being first homes, which will be available at a discounted rate for buyers who meet certain criteria, ie low-income families. Flood attentuation work is also stipulated.

In delegating the final approval, the committee ruled: "the proposal would not cause any material harm to the character and appearance of the countryside or wider landscape."

It added: "In conclusion, whilst the application site lies outside of the defined settlement boundary of Staunton/Corse the locational housing policies contained with the Development Plan are "out-of-date" and given the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework planning permission should be granted unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in the National Planning Policy Framework as a whole."

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