Cheltenham's MP, Alex Chalk, has teamed up with the leader of the Borough Council's Conservative group, Councillor Tim Harman, to oppose an application aimed at converting the Eagle Tower into flats.
The latest attempt at redevelopment follows a similar application from the same applicant earlier this year, which was withdrawn following public opposition from the local business community and the town's MP himself.
Mr Chalk, who is currently renting an office in the tower on a temporary basis, contacted the building's owners last week to seek assurances about their intentions. Despite receiving assurances that the building is not for sale, and that the application has been submitted speculatively by a planning consultancy firm, he has decided to submit detailed objections to the Council's planning team anyway.
Speaking after submitting his joint objection to the planning team, Mr Chalk said ''I was pleased to receive assurances from the building's owners that the Tower is not for sale and that they have no plans to convert the building for residential purposes. However, I wanted to outline my opposition to this speculative proposal regardless. We cannot risk the approval of this application. As the Athey Consulting report into our town's economic competitiveness in January stated, ensuring we retain sufficient business space is vital to our town's future economic prospects, and prevent us from becoming a dormitory town.''
''The Eagle Tower is one of the few high quality office complexes remaining in the town centre, and its loss for residential purposes would represent a major blow to Cheltenham as a business destination. It would impact negatively on small traders who rely on trade provided by people working at the Eagle Tower, and would add to already concerning levels of congestion in our town. I hope the Borough Council reject this application.’'