Liberal Democrats fight to defend open space in Quedgeley from development
Quedgeley Liberal Democrats Liam Harries and Anna Mozol have stood up to protect open space at a recent planning inquiry.
The Diocese of Gloucester was refused planning permission by Gloucester city council to build on the open space at Clearwater Drive which they later appealed against.
An inquiry was held during the last week of November by the planning inspectorate to hear evidence from those for and against the proposed school.
Both Liam Harries and Anna Mozol attended the inquiry and gave evidence supporting the position that the land should be retained for public use.
Speaking after the inquiry, Mr Harries said: "We had many local residents, members of Quedgeley Town Council, our county councillor, along with both myself and Anna from the Liberal Democrats, all in attendance to oppose the plans.
"Not one person came out in support. I think it's important to stress that we are not against the school as it is needed, it should however be built where the need is coming from and not in an already developed area.
"I was also disappointed that neither of our city councillors were prepared to stand up to defend this key piece of green space."
Miss Mozol added: "These councillors are supposed to represent residents, they are both fully aware of the open space shortages locally and they have failed residents in Quedgeley Severn Vale ward."
During the inquiry, the Liberal Democrats provided evidence to support their views in opposition to the school on subjects such as wildlife, traffic, lack of population growth in the area and lack of open space, amongst others.
"This land has a variety of protected species and the developers have shown an absolute disregard for this," Miss Mozol said.
"They require a special licence to disturb or relocate these animals which I do not believe they have obtained.
"When I questioned them on this point they had little to say and were dodging questions left right and centre.
"In Gloucestershire we have a huge range of protected species and how the city council allowed them to get away with this is scandalous."
She added: "I am continuing to investigate what I believe may be illegal removal of a protected species."
Following the inquiry, the Liberal Democrats conducted a site visit with the inspectorate to highlight concerns and point out various aspects which they feel raise concerns about the planned school construction and remaining open space provision.
One of these concerns is that the area designated for public use is currently looking like a swamp.
"It amazes me how they can propose this small piece of swamp area as an open space for residents," Mr Harries said.
"If the building goes ahead it would only cause more surface runoff into this area leading to the need for some serious landscaping and flood management.
"I am not convinced that the plans have given enough thought into the condition which this piece of land will be left."
He added: "It's just one of many valid points which have been raised and discussed at the planning inquiry.
"I hope the planning inspectorate takes all concerns which have been raised on board when making his decision."
The planning inspectorate should have reached a decision by mid-January.
The Liberal Democrats have long been against the building on land at Clearwater Drive and would like to see it become designated open space for the community.
Miss Mozol said "It is regularly used by kids playing games, dog walkers and others. We will not give up the fight to ensure our community can continue to enjoy this space."