Cheltenham borough council has spent almost £70,000 on planning appeals during this financial year a Freedom of Information request has revealed. 

This is an increase on previous financial years when it spent £31,528 in 2010/11, and £48,904 in 2011/12.

This is Gloucestershire report:

LATEST figures show Cheltenham Borough Council has shelled out almost £70,000 on planning appeals so far this financial year.

The authority has paid the sum on legal advice in upholding planning committee decisions – as well as paying out compensation in cases where its verdicts have been overturned.

The news comes amid stinging criticism from campaigners, who claim the committee had been left afraid to turn down developers due to the threat of having decisions reversed at great cost.

Bob Stark, who campaigned unsuccessfully against 300 home development on Starvehall Farm last year, said the situation rendered the authority toothless.

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I am a journalist and author. I am a staff writer at the UK edition of WIRED magazine and in 2015 my book, Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. I created FOI Directory in 2012.