PLANS to build a dozen affordable homes for “local people” in a picturesque Gloucestershire village have been deferred after they were previously approved.

Aster Group was granted permission to develop around 1.2 acres of grassland next to Church Road in Longhope by Forest of Dean District Council planners in July.

But their proposals for an exception site, which would prioritise people with ties to the village, had to come back before the development control committee on August 8 after complaints were lodged that the plans had not been considered properly.

In the previous meeting, Cllr Richard Burton (G, Newnham) was absent from the meeting for a very short time to use the bathroom and questions were raised whether this invalidated the committee’s decision.

However, a Forest of Dean District Council spokesperson said the authority had taken legal advice and that, even when removing Cllr Burton’s vote, there was a majority in favour, and the outcome would not have been different if he had been prevented from participating further in the application in question.

However, they said the proposal was being reconsidered for another reason and officers told the meeting they could not reveal why as it could prejudice the committee’s decision.

The new estate is designed to include a mixture of one bed flats and two to three bed houses.

The housing scheme has been opposed by Longhope Parish Council and some 22 residents who raised concerns over flooding, impact on wildlife and safety concerns with the access onto Church Road.

Councillor Julia Gooch (Progressive Independents, Newent and Taynton) said many concerns had been raised about the site and she proposed a deferral for a site visit to consult with the public rights of way officer.

Cllr Simon Phelps (I, Westbury-on-Severn) seconded his motion and “wholeheartedly agreed with her”.

“This decision needs to be deferred for us to have a much more thorough investigation of the site. Too many ifs, buts and maybes and even ‘don’t knows’ that have arisen on this application.”

The committee voted to defer the scheme for a site visit by six votes in favour to three against with one abstention.