In response to widespread public concern in Stow, The Member of Parliament for The Cotswolds, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, County Councillor Nigel Moor and District Councillors David Penman and Meryl Phillips, in conjunction with Stow Town Council, organised a public meeting to discuss planning issues in Stow. The Reverend Martin Short kindly hosted the event in St Edwards Church which was crammed to capacity with almost 200 people.
The meeting was chaired by Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and the Stow County, District and Town Councillors were all present together with Philippa Lowe, Principle Planning Officer at Cotswolds District Council and Malcolm Pink and Nevin Holden from Bovis Homes.
There was a lot of discussion about the Bovis Homes application and there seemed to be widespread antipathy towards it. The reasons for this were that planning permission for the site had been turned down many times in the past, it was in an Area of Outstanding Beauty and there was a lot of concern about traffic and congestion, both in the town and in the adjoining the Fosseway.
Questions were also asked about whether there would be adequate capacity in local schools and Doctors surgeries, and the capacity of the sewage system to cope with the additional housing. Philippa Lowe said these were all important issues that would have to be carefully examined before the Planning Committee made a decision on the current outlying planning application.
The representatives from Bovis Homes said they were keen to engage with the town to build the type of houses that people wanted. In particular it was noted that the current application will include 50 per cent affordable housing in response to a young local person who said that there should be some one bedroom housing available. Another raised a question on funding for self-build houses.
The meeting then moved on to other issues including the National Planning Policy Framework, the effect of the emerging local plan and the final discussion topic was the future of Ashton House, and whether there would be sufficient space for a Doctors surgery. County Councillor Nigel Moor answered questions on the need for a huge new care home application.
Summing up at the end of the meeting, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said "It shows the tremendous community spirit in Stow, which is one of the jewels of the Cotswolds, that so many people feel so passionately about the future of the town that they have turned up in such large numbers tonight. Whilst everyone might not have agreed with the answers they have heard, I believe everybody who wanted to, has had the opportunity to raise their concerns tonight."
Source: Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP Member of Parliament for The Cotswolds