12:00pm Saturday 14th September 2013
By Chris Warne
CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after a developer’s contentious plans for 150 homes in Leonard Stanely were thrown out by district councillors.
However, their early euphoria may be short-lived after Gladman, the firm behind the project and the equally controversial proposal for Baxter’s Field in the Slad Valley, refused to rule out an appeal.
Stroud District Council’s development control committee unanimously rejected the company’s scheme to develop the site known as Mankley Field at a meeting on Tuesday night (September 10).
To a round of applause from the packed out public gallery at Ebley Mill, councillors heeded their planning officer’s recommendation and turned down the speculative application, citing five grounds for refusal.
The proposed development’s location outside the settlement boundary, its impact on the neighbouring AONB and its possible effect on protected species of wildlife were among the reasons given for rejecting the plans.
Addressing the meeting on behalf of his constituents, Nigel Studdert-Kennedy (Conservative – Non Group), who represents The Stanleys ward, said the application was ‘unacceptable’ and should be dismissed because the benefits did not outweigh the disadvantages.
Appearing in the same capacity, his fellow ward councillor Steve Lydon (Lab), also called for the scheme to be chucked out, saying he did not know of anyone who supported it locally.
Committee members were similarly scathing in their assessment of the application, with Cllr David Drew (Lab, Stonehouse) warning it would have a ‘hugely detrimental’ impact on the landscape and Cllr Dorcas Binns (Con, Minch) describing it as ‘totally unsustainable’.
"That part of the Valley is magical and, like Javelin Park, anything that intrudes into that area actually destroys a very valuable part of our landscape and our heritage," added Cllr John Marjoram (Green, Trinity).
Campaigners, who recently delivered a petition with around 1,000 signatures against the development to the council, say the housing would remove the last green space between Leonard Stanley and King’s Stanley, resulting in a merger of the two villages.
Diane Odell, the chairman of the Mankley Field Action Group, said she was ‘absolutely delighted’ the plans had been refused.
"Right from the word go the whole village has been against this," she said.
"There have been letters of objection to the proposal from roughly 70 per cent of households in Leonard Stanley."
However, Gladman’s Martyn Twigg said the development would provide a number of benefits, including more affordable housing, and revealed the firm would review SDC’s decision before deciding whether or not to appeal.
"We are disappointed by the decision to refuse planning permission because we believe the site of the settlement is sustainable," he said.
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