A DEVELOPMENT too far – that’s what Moreton folk think of controversial plans for 250 homes on fire service college land, despite a promise of £2 million worth of investment in the community.

People have hit out at the decision to grant permission for the development, despite strong local objections.

They fear the town’s infrastructure will not cope and that people will be left facing gridlock because of a rush of new development.

Plans for 476 houses on sites off Todenham Road and Dulverton Place, and in Moreton Park, have already been given the go-ahead in Moreton.

But despite town and district councillors’ objections to owner Capita’s plans for the Fire Service College site, they were passed by planners at Cotswold District Council.

Capita, which bought the college Fire Service College in London Road, last year, says the development, which will also include up to 9,500sq metres of employment space, will bring benefits to the community and is essential to secure the future of the site as a fire training facility.

But Robert Dutton, district councillor for Moreton, slammed the decision as showing a lack of “common sense”.

“I tried to argue that it should be refused,” he said. “We do not need 250 new homes and the extra traffic will cause terrible congestion in the town but the plans went through anyway.

“We get frustrated when common sense does not prevail.”

Chairman of Moreton Town Council, Tom Lewis said: “We anticipated the decision, it was no great surprise.

“We put in a formal objection and only had three minutes to speak but the plans were passed by quite a majority.

“They are only outline plans though. Capita have still some issues to address before the detailed plans are submitted.”

Both councillors said they hope the houses will be phased in rather than built all at once, so that they can monitor the impact on the town’s infrastructure.

Capita spokesman Kirsty Sewter said: “A condition of the sale of the Fire Service College was for the new owner to commit to building and investment at the college in order to secure the long-term future of emergency service training at the site.

“The planning applications which we put forward form part of our long-term vision to create a sustainable business and local employment opportunities.

“We are delighted that the planning applications for both the employment zone and residential development have been endorsed by the Cotswold District Council Planning Committee.

“The development will create the opportunity for new jobs and economic growth locally.

“It will also provide approximately £2million worth of investment in the community via legal agreements which will benefit primary and secondary education and highways, as well as a fund to support local community infrastructure projects.

“The sale of the land for the development will allow the Fire Service College to continue to invest in its facilities and support its vision to become a world-class emergency services training and development centre of excellence.”