At Mactaggart & Mickel, we pride ourselves on cutting through red tape, simplifying complex issues and overcoming seemingly daunting obstacles.
Those core qualities came to the fore in connection with a parcel of strategic land sandwiched between the historic Gloucestershire towns of Tewkesbury and Gloucester
In a nutshell, we were first introduced to the 49-acre site in the green belt and the two families who owned it in 2010. Planning permission was granted for 465 houses in 2018 and sold it to Bellway six months later.
From the outside it may seem it was a long but straightforward journey and while we were reasonably fleet of foot, it was anything but simple.
Indeed, had it not been for our modus operandi the area could well have been denied vital housing in an extremely attractive area on the boundary between Tewksbury and Gloucester.
Mactaggart & Mickel began promoting land at Churchdown for development from 2010. The site comprises 49 acres and is situated on the north east outskirts of Gloucester, close to the A40 which leads to Cheltenham.
The site was identified within the emerging Gloucester-Cheltenham-Tewkesbury Joint Core Strategy as part of a Strategic Urban Extension for South Churchdown. This required the formal release of this land from the Green Belt.
We completed a deal with the landowners in March 2011 and promoted the site through the Joint Core Strategy – the strategic development document plan for Tewkesbury, Gloucester, and Cheltenham.
The strategic committee saw the development potential and agreed to release it for development. However, it was allocated as part of a larger site of 1,300 homes and one million square feet for business and industrial development.
To expedite matters, we submitted a planning application for 465 new homes including family homes and affordable dwellings. in July 2016 solely for our 49 acres.
The proposals were designed to help to support local services and the wider community, providing new pedestrian and vehicular access arrangements, new accessible open space, play areas, a sports pitch and complementary planting and landscaping and financial contributions towards securing and building a new Primary School.
Our team undertook a significant amount of technical work to examine the site’s constraints, covering highways, landscape, ecology, hydrology, archaeology and masterplanning to bring forward this site for development.
We then spent two years negotiating with the local authorities. The main sticking point was how to distribute the 1,300 homes across the three local authority areas but we managed to plot a way through.
We won over the local council by convincing all parties that our site could be deemed suitable to be brought forward in isolation form the larger allocation.
As well as making that case, we also promised to make appropriate contributions to local infrastructure in the shape of a new primary school.
Consent was eventually granted for 465 houses in November 2018 and we marketed the site and after a competitive tendering process it was sold to Bellway in April 2019,
While it may have been a lengthy process, it’s still something we should take a lot of pride in.
It was, after all, initially a green belt site and the only site that has been that has been delivered in the whole JSC area to date - the only area where houses are emerging in the three authority areas.
And that is because we worked hard to get it out of green belt and released early ahead of the balance of the larger site instead of waiting on the 1,300-home comprehensive scheme.
We made financial contributions to the council to enable them to buy a site for the primary school to avoid being held back as part of the overall package.
It’s a desirable part of the world – it represents countryside living with good transport links as it’s well located for the M5 motorway and trunk roads and it’s also close to a place of principal employer in Gloucester.
So, all in all, it was no surprise that when we marketed the site we had five unconditional offers which showed the strength of the market and showed that all our efforts had paid off.