COUNCILLORS in Stow-on-the-Wold have been left furious after a planning application for a new retirement home was granted by just one vote.

At a planning committee meeting last week, Cotswold District Council members voted to permit the development on the Fosseway, which opponents of the design likened to a ‘70s Eastern European building’.

The planning committee was split on the decision at six votes a piece with the deciding vote being cast by chairman Robin Hughes.

Alun White, chair of planning on Stow-on-the-Wold town council, said: “It’s totally inappropriate for Stow which is already a very old town, we’ve got more than 35 per cent of people over retirement age.

“This together with the development near Tesco will give us 200-300 more fairly elderly people.

“What this town really needs is affordable housing for young people.

“These two major developments are being put outside the development boundary and are a real threat to the sustainability of Stow.

“As I made clear to the inspector who examined the local plan, the fact that CDC have made no provision for housing in Stow over the next 12 years let alone any affordable housing which we desperately need is a downright disgrace.

“It was bitterly disappointing to lose the vote by just one vote but it shows that some councillors have got sense.

“The developers are talking about providing facilities in their development but we’ve already got those in Stow so why should they be creating competition for existing businesses who are having a hard enough time of time of it as it is.”

Dilys Neill, ward councillor for Stow-In-The-Wold, who requested the application be considered by the planning committee was also displeased by the decision.

"I am very disappointed with the decision to permit this development especially as the result was so close”, she said.

"The design is not sympathetic to its Cotswold setting, and it will have a huge impact on the residents of Bartlett's Park & Chamberlayne House who will have this massive development towering over them.

"A number of councillors who voted to permit the plans commented that the design was not ideal, and indeed the application for this site was turned down at outline stage by CDC & allowed on appeal.

"Had the reserved matters including design been rejected by the planning committee there is no doubt that the applicants Liberty would have appealed again to the planning inspectorate and this would have been costly for the district council."

John Sneddon, managing director of Tetlow King Planning who are managing the application on behalf of Liberty Retirement Living, said: “It’s been a long and exhausting set of negotiations and discussions with the council and local community.

“We are very pleased that permission has been granted and we think it will bring significant benefits to the ageing population in the Cotswolds.”