A DEVELOPMENT of 140 new homes is heading for Moreton after planners gave it the green light.

Cotswold District Council's planning committee approved the outline plans for the new houses split across two sites on land off Todenham Road and Dulverton Place at a meeting last Wednesday.

Ten members voted in favour of the proposals by Cala Homes which include a new public park linked to the existing Blenheim Park with two against and one abstention.

Despite strong objections from the town council, members went with the planning officer's recommendation for approval subject to legal agreements covering provision of affordable housing, financial contributions to education and libraries and the provision of a public park.

But councillor Tom Lewis, chairman of Moreton Town Council who spoke out against the plans at the meeting, said while permission was anticipated, they were still disappointed.

"As far as Moreton is concerned, it's not necessarily in the interests of the town of its residents," he said. "In Moreton Park we've 336 houses built or being built already and the difficulty I think we've have here with another 140 of the Cala application and potentially another 250 with the Capita application, that's an awful lot of additional houses and people for what is a comparably a small town like Moreton to cope with.

"The other issue is the fact the access to this development will be off the Todenham Road which is either accessed from Todenham village or the A429 junction.

"That's really a congested place and at certain times of the day it gets very busy."

Ted Ayres, chairman of Todenham Parish Council said they were concerned about the impact the development would have on Moreton's satellite villages such as Todenham, Longborough and Evenlode.

"They rely on the services that are provided in Moreton, which is their market town," he said. "The population is increasing rapidly which is impacting on schools, health, parking. It isn't just people living in Moreton."

He said their other major concern was their village being used as a rat run as people would avoid using the congested railway bridge to travel through Moreton.

"People are using it already," he added. "The increase in homes built in Blenheim there's already substantially more traffic going through here before they were built.

"We're not against houses but the trouble is, they are dumping houses in Moreton and there isn't a lot of work and putting more people on the road travelling long distances."

The decision has raised questions about the town's lack of infrastructure which Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown says is "unsustainable" and is calling for more appropriate Section 106 legal requirements from developers.

He said with a potential 250 further homes proposed for the Fire Service College site, where more than 300 have already been built in the last two years, there is nowhere near sufficient infrastructure to cope.

"I am seriously calling on the County Council and District Council to pay much more attention to the planning needs of this town," he said.
"The people of Moreton deserve better.

"The current situation is unsustainable.

"The draft emerging plan, until 2031, will already have been vastly exceeded and Moreton-in-Marsh will become gridlocked and the excessive number of affordable housing will remain empty.

"Unless the appropriate Section 106 requirements are demanded from the developer in the case of Capita the quality of life for the residents in the town will be seriously eroded.

"A huge opportunity is currently being lost."

District Councillor for Moreton, Robert Dutton said the town could not sustain this "avalance" of housing.

"I am very concerned at the impact on the sustainability of the town. The Town can only expand at a sustainable rate," he said.

"I don’t think another house should be built until we are sure the road bridge is safe.”

County Councillor Nigel Moor added: “In all of my professional experience outside of Gloucestershire, in other shire counties, Section 106 contributions are being negotiated with the developers at significantly higher levels than they are being negotiated in Gloucestershire.”