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Please show your support at 1.30pm, next Wednesday 9 April at
Municipal Buildings, The Promenade, Cheltenham

The council are holding on crucial meeting on the JCS and we hope they will delay its release in order the wait

for revised population statistics from the ONS (Office of National Statistics)

Six campaign groups join forces to fight thousands of homes planned for Cheltenham greenbelt

The three councils, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Gloucester City, working together on a Joint Core Strategy for housing development for 20 years (JCS) finally issued their consultation on their preferred option.

Despite enormous opposition and lengthy arguments within the Council, they decided to continue to investigate a plan for 33,000 new houses including 4,850 on our Greenbelt land. This is an increase of 24.3% in housing stock when in the ten years up to the 2011 census the population of this area increased by 5.7%.

After many weeks of work, we completed our formal response to the JCS (Joint Core Strategy) preferred option in December. Thank you to so many local supporters who responded directly to the Consultation. Without so much support our voice would certainly not be so strong.

Our key arguments were that the volume of housing was over-estimated by 10,000 and their proposal for Greenbelt Urban Extensions, include one at Swindon Village, was not a necessity but a commercial choice influenced by developers, We gave the JCS term clear evidence to support our arguments and came up with practical alternatives for housing.

So – what’s the good news?

We have had huge amounts of publicity in local press, radio and TV and also the issue has been discussed nationwide and in Parliament. We are delighted that after much pressure, an all-party Parliamentry Group has been set up to discuss the issue of greenbelt protection. We have been invited to give evidence at that group. Our MP Laurence Robertson and also Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood are both part of that group and we continue to liaise closely with them.

There is much noise nationwide that the current legislation under the National Policy Framework needs to be changed as it is biased towards development. With the continued pressure we are giving and the volume of noise on this issue it does seem that the JCS team, our Politicians and decision makers may actually be starting to absorb are reasoned arguments.

What’s next

The JCS team are analyzing all the responses; they expect to issue a pre-submission of their final document in Spring 2014 and the final version to the Secretary of State in Winter 2014. We will continue to work with our politicians to take this issue right to Westminster decision makers AGAIN!

Why do we even need a Joint Core Strategy?

We do need a plan. Current legislation would allow a developer to apply for planning permission anywhere and in the absence of a local plan, a planning application on greenbelt might very well be allowed on appeal. However, our argument is that it must be a reasonable flexible plan that can be adjusted as the population changes and housing needs change and above all benefit the existing population in the area as well as any new-comers.

As soon as we hear anything from the JCS team we will be sure to react and launch into action again. In the meantime we continue to collect additional evidence.

What can you do?

Please sign and publicise our online petition Google Search Cheltenham Greenbelt

Thanks again for your continued support.

Helen Wells.

First published in the “Village News” (in Swindon Village) February 2014

Laurence Robertson MP continues to support Save the Countryside team in their campaign to protect Greenbelt land around Cheltenham.

Laurence Robertson, MP had a busy day visiting rallies around the area, meeting concerned residents about the threat to the Green Belt, in their areas, posed by the house building numbers in the Joint Core Strategy.

Mr Robertson, visited Uckington to meet residents of Uckington and Swindon Village who added their opposition to the proposal to build 4,850  homes in their fields.

Helen Wells from Save the Countryside said “ We are delighted to continue to receive such  good support from our MPS in Tewkesbury and Cheltenham on such an important issue. The Joint Core Strategy team tell the public that we need to build on greenbelt, but we have evidence and fair  alternative suggestions to prove that this is simply not the case. We want the public to know this and to have their say in the future of our town as this affects everyone.”

Residents within the Joint Core Strategy area of Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Gloucester have  5 days left to make their comments known to the draft proposals. Responses are due to the JCS team by 13th December. More details can be found on the JCS website www.gct-jcs.org/

 

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Below is our leaflet due to hit Swindon Village imminently. Click on the leaflet to get the PDF version which you can read or please print and spread the word.

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The draft JCS which was release to the public amid much controversy it now available for you to comment on, it is available for a six week period of public consultation, between Tuesday 15 October and Tuesday 26 November 2013.

!!Deadline now extended to 13 December!!

We recommend going to one of the sessions in the table below where you be able to ask questions, or see it online at www.gct-jcs.org. Also

Please add you name to our petition to
Save Cheltenhams Greenbelt!

It you are going also you might like to ask why Cheltenham it being asked to grow by a massive 24% (over 20 years), while Bath is only predicted to grow by 17%. You also might like to ask the following

  • Why there is no requirement to build on brownfield sites first before green field and green belt
  • Why the council is planning to build 800+ houses in the AONB (Area of Outstanding National Beauty) and special landscape areas.
  • How flooding can possibly be dealt with
  • How the current infrastructure, in particular roads will be able to cope. Anyone who experiences the traffic jams occurring on Shurdington Road and on Princess Elizabeth Way will wonder how.

If the Officers and Elected Members do press ahead with plans to build on the green belt it will be done through choice and not necessity.

Day

Date

Time

Venue

(Wednesday

16th October

18:00 – 20:00

Tewkesbury Borough Council – Parish & Town Council event)

Thursday

17th October

18:00 – 20:30

Ashchurch Village Hall

Saturday

19th October

14:30 – 17:00

Leckhampton Village Hall (JCS only)

Monday

21st October

18:00 – 20:30

Bishop’s Cleeve Primary School

Tuesday

22nd October

18:00 – 20:30

Innsworth Community Hall

Thursday

24th October

18:00 – 20:30

Shurdington Social Centre

Friday

25th October

12:30 – 15:00

Regent Arcade, Cheltenham (JCS only)

Wednesday

30th October

18:00 – 20:30

Winchcombe Abbey Fields Community Centre

Monday

4th November

18:00 – 20:30

Cheltenham Civil Service Club, Uckington

Thursday

7th November

17:30 – 20:00

Brockworth Community Centre

Friday

8th November

12:30 – 15:00

Gloucester Eastgate Shopping Centre (JCS only)

Saturday

9th November

12:30 – 15:00

GL3 Hub, Churchdown

Tuesday

12th November

12:30 – 15:00

Tewkesbury Town Hall

Wednesday

13th November

18:00 – 20:30

Apperley Village Hall

Please add you name to our petition to Save Cheltenhams Greenbelt!

 

It was with dismay that I heard that Cheltenham Borough Council voted through the Joint Core Strategy which ear marks green field and greenbelt land around Cheltenham for massive housing development. The Lib Dems and the Tories have both promised to protect the greenbelt yet they vote through a plan to build on it, and have failed to listen to consultations.

The people we vote for are both spineless and powerless. Planning inspectors, the government and developers lawyers can easily overturn their objections. Call this localism? The housing target has been shown time and time again to be based on unrealistic estimates of economic growth and immigration to the area. Yes, we need homes but for local people but we need to develop brownfield sites first, something the council has failed to promise.

 

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I commonly walk the fields around Swindon Village before breakfast with my 7 year old son, he loves it, we learn about nature and experience the beauty together. The loss of green space will be felt most sorely by his generation. We need to start valuing quality of life rather than GDP. Please sign our petition http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/52608.

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