On the 1st April this year the Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson and the Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood were both sent this letter/email.

Following recent developments, the campaign against the Regional Spatial Strategy is growing in Cheltenham. Recently, the Borough Council took a position against the RSS and the NW Urban Extension, despite being party to the ‘expression of interest’ along with Tewkesbury, Gloucester and the County Council for ‘infrastructure’ funds.

Our view is that local resistance must reflect itself in political resistance at all levels, and that MPs are crucial in this process, because the RSS is an expression of a flawed national policy.

We feel that there are a number of things that need to be done, and wonder if you and Martin Horwood MP could help us by:

(i) Finding out what the position of the other Gloucestershire MPs is on this issue, and whether or not there can be a Gloucestershire position.
(ii) Clarifying Conservative policy nationally; do you share the Governments Growth Forecasts? What is your policy on the RSS? In the event of a General Election, would you support a change in national policy?
(iii) Can you convey opposition to the RDA over the housing figures – perhaps through a meeting between Gloucestershire’s MPs and the RDA?
(iv) Will you work with the Council for Preservation of Rural England nationally to coordinate opposition within Parliament?
(v) Would you consider submitting an Early Day motion in the house, and get Gloucestershire’s MPs to support it in order to begin to galvanise opposition nationally?

We feel that the RSS is the biggest threat inflicted on Gloucestershire in recent times. ‘Save the Countryside’ are not NIMBY’s. We simply do not believe that the housing targets are needed and are the result of the wrong policy.

We are NABY’s – not in anyone’s back yard. We really believe that the idea of covering the Severn Vale in houses against our recent experience of flooding – the biggest peacetime emergency in the post war history of the UK – is bonkers, and we are sure we have substantial popular support in this.

You can check the progress of the campaign on http://www.savethecountryside.org.uk

Here is the response from Laurence Robertson:

Thank you for your email. I agree that the countryside is in danger and have been working on the draft RSS for a while, and in fact had a debate in parliament a long while ago on the provisional figures which were being discussed then.

I have written a letter of objection to Hazel Blears and have copied that letter to other Gloucestershire MPs in the hope that they will do similar..

I don’t think a meeting with the RDA would help, though, as the Minister will be taking decisions and the only parts of the RSS which will be out for public consultation after that are those parts of the RSS which she proposes to amend. The Conservative policy on this is that we would scrap the Regional Assemblies.

Re the CPRE – I resigned from their membership because they basically support the RSS proposals!

The EDM idea is a thought, though obviously it would only attract one or two signatures. I hope the above answers your questions and I am grateful to you for writing to me.

Best wishes.

Laurence Robertson M.P.

Here is the response from Martin Horwood:
(sorry its an image because it was faxed)


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