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Saving the Cotswolds

Nov 17, 2020 | Community Announcements

An interesting article surfaced in the Sunday Times at the weekend relating to Chipping Campden and housing in the Cotswolds.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been a mass movement of people out of London and into the countryside. The arrival and acceptance of Working from Home has meant that many much prefer living in the countryside and away from busy city life. Whether this will remain a permanent change rather than a short term change we shall see.

Spiking demand, there are reports of houses worth £2million in the area selling within two weeks as demand hits home. Areas such as Kingham are already seeing a noticeable difference in the number of cars in their area with many having a London parking permit in their window.

12,000 new homes are set to be built in the Stroud District and 18,000 new homes in the Cotswolds District which is a 148% rise from initial targets set by Government for the area. Many are worried that this may lead to the Cotswolds becoming a commuter belt and lose it’s charm and appeal to tourists. The bigger concern also lies in the fact that prices are becoming ever more unaffordable for locals.

You only need to see the impact of local traffic through Moreton in Marsh to realise that there might be an issue brewing for local communities. The local roads aren’t used to nor built for the level of traffic seen.

It’s not just the traffic which is an issue either. Most of the local schools are now full which means students having to travel further away to receive their education which adds to the local transport issues.

Many estate agents will tell you that the Cotswolds is protected from mass development because it lies within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). However, Chipping Campden isn’t protected much it seems. Campaigners here are fighting to save the town’s last orchard from being paved over to build eight homes for the over-55s and a car park.

As Keyna Doran (whos is born and bred to Chipping Campden) said in the article:

“It is an ancient habitat, the biodiversity is off the scale there…it has really good varieties of apple, plum and pear. It is habitat for thousands of insects and bird life. You still see fieldfare, redwings and song thrushes there. Now the conservation society that owns it is trying to rid themselves of it. It is unacceptable.”

Effectively, what was green belt land is now is not buildable. People know this and have started to buy up land to protect their view. Any new housing builds are often expensive executive homes for commuters. In the last five years according to the Times article commuters living in the Cotswolds has increased from 20% to 50%. Concerns arising from this statistic includes worries for the local environment and the local economy. There is just unaffordable housing for the local community.

You can read more about this and in more depth in the Sunday Times article by clicking here.

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