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Clarks approves urban extension in Gloucestershire green belt

Published: Thursday, 7th April 2016

Communities Secretary Greg Clark has approved outline proposals for a major urban extension in Gloucestershire green belt.

Clark agreed with a planning inspector that very special circumstances justified the go-ahead for the scheme even though it was in direct conflict with the adopted development plan.

The proposals for up to 1,500 new homes including extra care housing, employment uses, a community hub providing health services and shopping facilities, both formal and informal open space and land for a primary school were supported by the local planning authority Tewkesbury Borough Council. Some 40 per cent of the housing is set to be affordable.

The scheme earmarked for 77-hectares of land to the north of Brockworth and south of the A417 was called-in by the then Secretary of State Eric Pickles in November 2014. Bristol-based private charity the Merchant Venturers and property company ERLP are behind the project. The site is wholly in Gloucester and Cheltenham green belt.

In his decision letter Clark acknowledged that the proposal was in direct conflict with the adopted development plan as regards policies on green belt and housing, including settlement boundaries.

However, Clark agreed with the inspector that there were very special circumstances in this case. The objectively assessed housing need which had emerged in the examination of the joint core strategy pointed to high and persistent levels of unmet need. As well work on the JCS recognised the need for alterations to the green belt and the planning merits of an urban extension north of Brockworth.

The letter concluded that these amounted to “very special circumstances” which outweighed the conflict with the development plan.

View the called-in planning application

Roger Milne