Plan re­vealed for 8,000 homes

Western Daily Press - - News - ROBIN JENK­INS robin.jenk­ins@reach­

LONG-TERM plans to build what would ef­fec­tively be a new town in Glouces­ter­shire have been re­vealed.

Tewkes­bury Bor­ough Coun­cil is look­ing into the pos­si­bil­ity of al­low­ing the phased build­ing of 8,010 homes, and the de­vel­op­ment of 120 hectares of em­ploy­ment land, at Ashchurch.

It comes as the author­ity and the dis­trict coun­cils in Chel­tenham and Glouces­ter seek to find space for more houses in the fu­ture.

Gov­ern­ment guid­ance is­sued in the sum­mer put pres­sure on the au­thor­i­ties to re­view their long-term strate­gic hous­ing think­ing and build more homes than they had planned.

As a re­sult it seems Ashchurch is be­ing looked at, even more closely than had been planned, to take a huge amount of de­vel­op­ment.

The par­ish is close to Tewkes­bury, be­ing just east of junc­tion nine of the M5 – the main gate­way to the town.

At the mo­ment, Ashchurch is still a rel­a­tively small com­mu­nity which is di­vided by the A46 that goes through the mid­dle of it. A big chunk of its res­i­dents live on the North­way es­tate.

But if plans to be dis­cussed by the coun­cil at its full meet­ing on Mon­day night are agreed, Ashchurch could ef­fec­tively be turned into a new town.

Ac­cord­ing to a mas­ter plan cre­ated by con­sul­tants com­mis­sioned by the author­ity, it would hap­pen in four phases.

The first would see 3,180 new homes be­ing built up to 2031 - the pe­riod cov­ered by the three coun­cils’ fu­ture de­vel­op­ment blue­print. That is called the Joint Core Strat­egy and was adopted in De­cem­ber last year.

But the au­thor­i­ties are keen to plan be­yond that.

At this stage, a time­line for when phases two, three and four would hap­pen has not been set out, other than it be­ing planned for the “long term”.

Phase two would see 1,485 homes be­ing added, with 1,185 be­ing built in phase three and 2,160 in phase four.

Phase one en­vis­ages the de­vel­op­ment of the ar­eas north of the Army camp, land to the west of it and land at Fid­ding­ton .

The de­vel­op­ment would see 3,180 new homes, 46 hectares of em­ploy­ment land, a lo­cal cen­tre with re­tail/ ser­vices and a new pri­mary school .

At the time of the 2011 Cen­sus, just over 6,000 peo­ple lived in Ashchurch and 14,281 peo­ple lived in Tewkes­bury town and its neigh­bour­ing Wheat­pieces es­tates.

It might be a num­ber of years away but a de­vel­op­ment of 8,010 homes, if it hap­pens, could see Ashchurch grow to about the same size as Tewkes­bury.

There are those who con­sider Ashchurch to be an ex­ten­sion of Tewkes­bury now but oth­ers view it as a sep­a­rate en­tity.

If these pro­pos­als be­come re­al­ity, ei­ther Tewkes­bury will be­come a much big­ger town or Ashchurch will be­come a new town in its own right.

The fo­cus is on Ashchurch be­cause of its close­ness to the M5, the fact it has a rail­way sta­tion and land likely to be­come avail­able for hous­ing at the Army camp site.

But there is a re­al­i­sa­tion that ser­vices and roads in the area will have to be im­proved if the new houses are built.

The con­sul­tants’ mas­ter plan said: “The area en­joys ex­cel­lent prox­im­ity to Junc­tion 9 of the M5. How­ever, there are se­vere ca­pac­ity and con­ges­tion is­sues at this junc­tion and along the A46 which must be ad­dressed to fa­cil­i­tate strate­gic de­vel­op­ment and pro­vide site ac­cess.”

Phase three of the plan sug­gests build­ing a new “south­ern de­vel­op­ment road” to pro­vide direct ac­cess to em­ploy­ment at Fid­ding­ton and res­i­den­tial ar­eas and re­lieve pres­sure on the A46.

If the con­sul­tants’ mas­ter plan for Ashchurch is backed by Tewkes­bury Bor­ough Coun­cil, it will then go out to pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

Fran­cis Hawkins /

The wind­ing B3135 run­ning throughChed­dar Gorge

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