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Save Our Lake Campaign

organised by
Fairford Environmental Society

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Click here for Home | LATEST NEWS  | Fairford Environmental Society |  The Cygnet Planning Application for Lake 104

We Won!

The Secretary of State supported the Inspector's recommendation to dismiss the Appeal.

The reasons for dismissal were harm to the landscape, loss of public amenity and non-compliance with the zoning guidelines.

"The scale and intensity of built development around the eastern part of the north shore and the eastern shore of lake 104 would dramatically and adversely affect its peaceful rural character, that the urbanising effect of the proposed development would be evident from public viewpoints and that a substantial part of the circular walk around lake 104 would change from a rural footpath in a countryside setting to a walk dominated by buildings, roadways and parking areas."

A big thank you to everyone who supported our campaign.

The full decision can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website. Click on the Search for a case box half way down the page, a new page will come up. Type 2043652 in the Case Reference box and click on Search for cases at the bottom left.

Cygnet Investments put in a planning application for the big lake behind the football club (Lake 104) and the 2 lakes of Milestone Fisheries (Lakes 103 and 103a) in 2005.

The Cotswold District Council Planning Committee considered the application on 21st February 2007 and rejected it for a number of planning reasons. Click here for the decision notice and the full planning details. Or visit Fairford Town Council offices between 10.00 am and 1.00 pm week days or the Cotswold District Council Offices in Trinity Road, Cirencester during office hours.

The plans have been changed slightly from the original application and now include:
a hotel with 38 suites and leisure complex,
57 flats (up from 48) - some blocks 3 storeys high,
143 'pavilions'
(down from 152)  which are basically a mix of 2 to 6 bedroomed houses.

All this will be crowded around the 2 smaller lakes and the eastern and north eastern edges of Lake 104.

Cygnet appealed against the decision.

The Planning Enquiry took place on the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th and 12th December at the Four Pillars Hotel, South Cerney. Cygnet had objected to the Bull Hotel in Fairford as the venue as it was owned by an objector. It was originally due to start at 10.00 am each day and finish at 5.00 pm, but it was soon clear that there was so much ground to cover that the start time became 9.30 am and on the last day the Enquiry did not finish until 8.40 pm.

Indeed the Enquiry lasted an extra day as the Site Visit took place on Thursday 13th December. It was a wonderful crisp, icy morning and the lake looked beautiful. There was an abundance of wildfowl. The Appeal Party managed to navigate the footpath trenches without mishap, although many of the flooded 'footpaths' had iced over.

The Inspectorate has stated that the Appeal Decision will be announced on or before the 25th April 2008. The Inspector will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State, Hazel Blears, who will make the final decision.

Reasons for objecting

There were 3 main reasons that CDC refused the application:

1. The proposed development does not comply with the current zoning designation in the Cotswold Water Park. The eastern half of lake 104 is a Zone B, as is the small Lake 103a, which is for low intensity recreation like small camp or caravan sites - not a hotel and lots of holiday accommodation, some 3 storeys high. The western side of Lake 104 is a Zone A for nature conservation and quiet enjoyment of the countryside.

2. The mass of built development will be harmful to the landscape with the loss of the vegetation on the eastern and north eastern sides and intrusion of buildings. There will be a loss of amenity for local people as the whole experience of walking the lake will be altered from a tranquil, relaxing walk in the countryside, to one dominated by a mass of buildings. 'The proposals would create demonstrable harm to the character and appearance of the site'.

Please let the Planning Inspector know what Lake 104 means to you personally and your enjoyment of it.

3. 'The development would generate additional vehicular traffic through the local settlements, which would be detrimental to their facilities and functioning and, consequently to the amenity of local residents'. The situation would be aggravated by other developments such as Claydon Pike. The local roads will not cope with the extra traffic generated. Please give examples of the traffic situation you have witnessed.

The Fairford Environmental Society also objected for the following reasons.

  • The density of the development is much too intensive and will put a strain on local services. The houses will represent a significant percentage of all of Fairford housing, currently about 1500 so a 10% increase.
  • The application site is in the flood plain and the eastern land section was flooded in 2000 and January and July 2007.
  • The Fairford HealthCheck identified the big lake, 104, as an area to be kept green and free of buildings.
  • Disturbance to wildlife. The big lake is important for breeding birds like great crested grebe and overwintering waterfowl like gadwall and pochard. All these species are singled out as in need of protection in the Cotswold Water Park Biodiversity Plan as well as others and should be protected, not disturbed. How do we know the proposed mitigation measures will work?
  • The construction period is to be 5 years! So there will be upheaval on the site for a long time with the extra lorries and noise etc. Will the wildlife be able to put up with this or just go away forever? Will Fairford residents have to suffer this unwanted upheaval for such a long time span?
  • The development is too close to the River Coln and there has been insufficient research into the impact the development will have on it.
  • The approved holiday complex at Claydon Pike already has provision for a hotel with 100 beds and 160 houses. The area does not need more.
  • The applicants want to maximise occupation of all the properties during the whole year so there will be noise, lights, traffic etc all year round.
  • The Town Council has a policy of sustainable tourism based on the beautiful walks around Fairford. This development will ruin one of Fairford's attractions.

Act now to protect this:

Western side of Lake 104
Lake 104's Beach
Southern side of Lake 104