Architect says town housing plan 'not soulless'

Designs for the proposed scheme Image copyright The Bathurst Development
Image caption A "community hub" including GP surgery and sports hall is part of the plans by Bathurst Development Ltd

The architect of a large development planned for Cirencester says it will not be a "soulless housing estate" - amid local anger over the scheme.

Graeme Phillips told the BBC the plans for up to 2,350 homes would "be an integration of the countryside on the edge of the town".

On Tuesday, scores of protesters packed a sometimes heated council meeting.

One, Patrick Moylan, told the BBC the plans were "grossly unfair" and placed a huge "burden of housing" on the town.

"Cirencester, compared with a range of similar towns throughout the country is having a burden of housing placed on it which is two and a half times the average," he said.

The Chesterton development, on land owned by Lord Bathurst, would see up to 2,350 homes, as well as businesses, a primary school and a GP surgery built south of Chesterton.

An outline planning application has been submitted to Cotswold District Council.

Protest group Save Our Cirencester say it effectively means another town being "bolted on to the side of Cirencester".

The town is the main centre of the Cotswolds with a population of about 20,000.

Mr Phillips told BBC Gloucestershire: "We've done a lot of work to make sure that what it definitely won't be is a soulless housing estate."

He said he believed Cirencester was the "best place" to take a "significant proportion" of the 7,500 homes planned across the Cotswolds District Council area up to 2031.

Lib Dem councillor Joe Harris said he accepted the need to build but added: "We just feel a 40% increase on the size of Cirencester isn't the right approach."

He said he felt it would "change the character" of the town but felt it "probably was a done deal".

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