Planning inquiry opens into controversial Cirencester lorry park

A PLANNING inquiry which will decide the fate of plans to build a new lorry park which residents fear will harm the landscape began on Tuesday.

William Gilder Ltd’s plans to build the new 75-space truck stop on land at Gloucester Road near the A417 in Stratton were rejected in March last year.

More than 370 people opposed the scheme and Cotswold District Council refused planning permission over ecological, agricultural and landscape concerns.

But this decision was challenged by the developer and a planning inspector will now decide if the scheme goes ahead.

Killian Garvey KC spoke on behalf of the applicant during the first day of the inquiry which is being held at the council offices in Cirencester.

He explained why the development is needed and how it is designed to cater to the needs of lorry drivers who are already on the road network and need a safe and secure place to rest.

He said the A417 and A419 network between Gloucester and Swindon accommodates more than 5,000 freight movements a day. And the proposed facilities would reduce the risk of lorry thefts and there are no similar sites.

“There are no secure and purpose-built off road secure lorry parks with coining security and welfare facilities along this stretch,” he said.

Barrister Alexander Greaves, acting on behalf of the council, said the major development was incongruous to its surroundings.

“There are a number of potential alternative sites located outside the AONB which would meet the identified need and perform considerably better than the appeal site in doing so,” he said.

Barrister Hashi Mohamed, who spoke on behalf of the Cotswold AONB Residents Group, said the proposals could not be sought in a more inappropriate location.

He said it was not a ‘nimby’ community who are against any form of development but would have to live with the consequences of this “highly inappropriate” application.

“The appellant seeks to introduce 75 HGV parking spaces, 15 car/van spaces as well as cycle parking within one of the most sensitive locations in the country,” he said.

“Practically every statutory consultee with an interest in protecting this sensitive landscape has objected. Over 370 objections have been received raising major and minor issues.”

The planning inquiry will continue this week before adjourning to resume in April.

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