Motion passed rejected the housing targets

1. This Council notes that the Government, through the Regional Spatial Strategy, will impose a target to build at least 13,800 houses over the next 18 years within Cheltenham and the adjacent countryside and notes that a new 12-week consultation period has started on the amendments to the housing figures contained in the Examination in Public version of the Regional Spatial Strategy which is expected to end on 17th October 2008.

2. This Council notes that grass-roots opposition from residents, local Councillors and members of Parliament to this imposed house-building in the Cheltenham area is rising. In particular, this Council notes the successful campaigning of ‘Save the Countryside’, and urges all Party’s to have a united front against the RSS.

3. This Council therefore pledges continued opposition to the housing targets imposed by the RSS and resolves:
* to work with Community Groups and Parish Councils to register the widest possible opposition to the plans
* to oppose the RSS housing targets in the strongest possible terms in its consultation submission on the RSS.

Motion on holding a referendum rejected

The following motion on a referendum on the housing targets:

4. This Council therefore pledges to hold a town-wide referendum as soon as possible, using a question agreed by Group Leaders, to consult the people of Cheltenham on whether they accept the Secretary of State’s recommendations for imposed house-building targets. The results of the referendum will be included in the Council’s response to the Secretary of State’s review of the Regional Spatial Strategy.

was rejected, primarily for the following reasons:

  • The target would be Cheltenham Borough Council rather than the Government (but CBC is behind us)
  • There are better ways for spend the estimated £50K cost (funded by taxpayers)
  • It may be risky (it would result in huge propaganda material from the developers, “Save The Countryside” would probably not be able to match this due to lack of resources)

“Save The Countryside” did have some input on this and we broadly agreed that it was best to not hold a referendum at this time.

Note that Tewkesbury Borough Council are having a referendum on the housing targets. I believe partly because TBC is going along with the governments targets rather than rejecting them and for them flooding is of course a particular and major issue.