A PLANNING battle between developers and neighbours over the creation five houses in Minchinhampton has re-ignited after neighbours raised concerns over flooding.

Developers, Chris and Estelle Manson-Whitton, have submitted a planning application to build five Cotswold stone houses built around a courtyard on the Well Hill Old Vineyard and a community orchard.

But neighbours have raised the alarm over possible flooding the development could cause their property.

Following a drainage assessment report which found there was a medium risk of surface water flooding in the field, a series of measures were proposed to redirect the water to the southwest of the site.

Sarah Norman and Tom Palterman who live in Fairview, which adjoins the land to the south, are worried this re-directed water running into the stream in their garden could potentially clog the culvert.

“The drawings in the planning application show the surface water from the houses running into our garden, where it would become our responsibility to manage,” said Sarah, 31.

“The field gets really wet when it rains so we don’t know what kind of effect digging deep into the ground will have.”

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“Our house was damaged quite badly from flooding in November last year. It took us weeks to repair the damage so naturally we are quite anxious.”

Sarah and Tom also claimed they had received no contact or visits from the developers or their consultants about plans to drain water through their property.

“It came as a complete surprise to us, we only found out about it when we looked at the planning report,” added Sarah.

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The community action group Protect Our Space was formed in April to oppose the development of Minchinhampton’s green spaces, particularly the Old Vineyard project.

The group’s chairman, Phil Smith, said the field is at high risk of subsidence and groundwater effects because of the soil composition.

“We have always said this site is unsuitable for development,” he said.

“The soil is extremely difficult to build on, with high risks of landslip and flooding from groundwater, as the developers’ own surveys reveal.

“In an attempt to reduce these risks and in order to create the low visual impact required, they have come forward with a plan which will require massive amounts of excavation, piling and groundwork.

“The environmental damage that this would cause would be huge. “This is just one example of the serious flaws in this proposal.”

He added that a petition against the application has gathered more than 500 signatures in a week.

But Chris and Estelle, who have lived in the village for 12 years, defended their plans.

“This planning application is the culmination of 18 months working towards our vision of building a family home for ourselves and four other family homes,” said Estelle.

“The design has been led by the landscape and ecology. The houses will be low key and completely in keeping with the character of Well Hill, nestled next to the existing settlement.

“We care very much about being responsible neighbours and about the environment in which we live, and that is why we have commissioned reports from a wide range of experts, far beyond what is normally required.

“The Stroud District Council officer agrees with our Preliminary Drainage Report that drainage from the site can be managed to avoid flood risk.”

The couple have also pledged to make £75,000 contribution to the village school.

Other residents in the town jumped to their defence.

David Land, who lives in Minchinhampton, said he supported the Manson-Whitton's planning application.

“They are not developers, not out to do anyone over, and want to live in Minchinhampton and open up some land, which is currently privately owned and inaccessible to everyone - and so not 'Our Space'.

“We would much rather Minchinhampton played a game of infilling here and there, rather than having to take 150 houses in one big development.

“What we don't understand is that if anyone actually read the planning application, they would see how little impact this would have on anyone.”

Rob Howell, another Minchinhampton resident, said the proposal was a “well-researched and thought through development”.

“I also support it because the developers are not some large, faceless building company, buying up patches of land to make a quick killing.

“The fact is the land was sold off, which means it could quite easily have fallen into the hands of a developer who wouldn't have put the same time and effort into their proposals as the Mason-Whittons.

“I think towns like Minchinhampton have to choose their battles wisely. We are under pressure to have more houses built around us - better to say we have done our part by accepting small scale, sympathetic developments like these, than mass housing estates.”

A decision is due to be made by Stroud District Council’s planners in late September.

To read more about the plans please visit: www.minchorchard.weebly.com/ and www.protectourspace.org

  • To have your say on the proposal please click here.