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JTP gets green light for peer’s controversial Cirencester scheme

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JTP’s designs for a new neighbourhood on the edge of a market town in the heart of the Cotswolds have been approved by councillors despite local opposition to the plans

Cotswold District Council has given the go-ahead to the development of a large plot of farmland on the edge of Cirencester owned by Allen Bathurst, the 9th Earl Bathurst.

The ‘expansion’ of the town includes 2,350 homes, including 100 units of student accommodation in addition to a 600-capacity school, a community centre and employment space.

It also includes 40ha of award-winning green space including allotments and wildlife habitats as well as new public parkland running the full width of the site.

Bathurst, an aristocrat whose family has owned land in the Cirencester district for centuries, and who owns the development company Bathurst Estates, has said the scheme would be his ‘legacy’ and bring much-needed homes to the Cotswolds. 

But opponents said the development, which is expected to increase the size of the town by 40 per cent, was too large and that the local infrastructure would struggle to cope with the influx of new residents.

A petition, launched by the campaign group Save Our Cirencester, said claimed the proposals would ‘significantly damage the town’. 

’We are dismayed at the dismissive response to more than 2,000 objections, including those of the town council, and demand that far more of the housing be allocated across the 450 square miles of the district, including brownfield sites, rather than productive farmland’, the petition read.

In response, Graeme Phillips, the JTP partner leading the project, said the scheme was a ‘rare chance’ to plan for the long term and bring much-needed new homes to the area.

He said: ‘The design of the new neighbourhood was developed with participation from the local community over more than two years and will bring multiple benefits to both the new and existing communities – not least, essential new housing for the next 15 years, including hundreds of affordable homes, as part of a great town in Cirencester.’

The Cirencester site was allocated in Cotswold District Council’s local plan, a blueprint for development in the district up to 2031 which allocated the areas where 7,500 new homes will be built.

About a quarter of the population in the Cotswold local government district lives in Cirencester and the council decided that, to ensure the town remains a good place to live and work, it must ’accommodate a sizeable share of the district’s future housing’.

In December 2017, JTP’s project was selected as one of five ‘early adopters’ of the UK’s Building with Nature certification mark, a new certification initiative which aims to recognise exemplar green infrastructure.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Given the level of criticism of this proposal, the 9th Earl Bathurst doesn't also own the council, does he?

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