October 2008

TODAY is the day to post your Comments on  the RSS - or email tomorrow

TODAY is the day to post your Comments on the RSS - or email tomorrow

Well I got mine in ok – sent it by email. The Save The Countryside Group has posted over 200 responses, which is brilliant – thanks to Anne, Kit, Tim and all who worked so hard to make that happen. I sent mine by email in case there is a major problem with the mail (or was I just too lazy to find a stamp and walk to the post box!). Martin Horwood’s response in his official capacity as MP of Cheltenham is excellent. He has actually read the whole document so makes the right references to the right paragraphs. He includes almost everything we had planned to say plus a whole lot more – if you would like a copy for inspiration – comment below and we can send it over. Finally, remember you can still do it tonight or even tomorrow if you email it. Use the official form (see previous post) and email to ‘rssconsult@gosw.gsi.gov.uk’

RSS Comments Form - download yours and fill in today!

RSS Comments Form - download yours and fill in today!

You only have one week left to get your comments on the RSS into the system. They must be received by Friday 24th at 5pm so best to do it this weekend and get them posted Monday morning. Advice from our local government expert is: you don’t have to read the whole document and comment in detailed scientific terms – if you use the correct form they have to read your comments and the important thing is to register dissent. Alhough in theory we can only comment on the latest changes, do not hesitate to attack the whole process, the initial assumptions of numbers of housing required, the loss of the principle of sequential development (brown land first), and the loss of greenbelt. Plus anything else you feel strongly about.

To down load a copy of the form click here and then down load the document entitled ‘Response Form.doc’ whihc is the only Word document on the page.

Exter Cathegral Close

Exter Cathedral Close

Message from Anne Griffiths:

Hi everyone,
I have been to Tewkesbury Flood Group Meeting tonight.
They have booked a coach to go to Exeter on Friday.
There are plenty of seats left.
The cost is £5.00
The coach will leave The Crescent at Tewkesbury at 8.00 a.m.

MPs and Campaigners Rally at Swindon Village 27th Sept 2008

MPs and Campaigners Rally at Swindon Village 27th Sept 2008

MORE than 100 countryside campaigners, residents, councillors and MPs rallied in Swindon Village to protest against plans for thousands of homes on the greenbelt.

There were cheers and claps from the Seasons Business and Leisure Complex, in Quat Goose Lane, as politicians called for townspeople to lobby against Government proposals to build 8,100 homes around Cheltenham, including 5,000 on the edge of Swindon Village, as part of the Draft Regional Spatial Strategy.

The meeting was led by protest group Save the Countryside, with speeches from Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood and Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson, who gave advice on action to take.

There were calls for revolt as residents heard the Government had failed to take into account space already within the town, flooding concerns following last year’s crisis, or the need for new infrastructure including roads and schools to support the area of new housing.

Concerns were also voiced about the short amount of time taken by Government inspectors to assess Cheltenham for housing

Click here!

Helen Wells, chairman of Save the Countryside, told the crowds: “We’re here to make the maximum impact for our cause.

“The Government wants to massively increase the size of our beautiful town by 26 per cent and we’re not having it.

“Let’s all be clear, it’s our last chance to save our beautiful countryside.

“We have nationwide support and have come a long way since our inception seven months ago. It’s up to us to make our mark.”

Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson added: “We are all concerned about this issue.

“We have experienced problems with flooding and further development is only going to make this worse.

“The Government is not listening to us and it’s important to campaign and fight this.

“Once thousands of houses are built in the wrong place it’s too late and we’ll have to live with our mistakes.”

Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood called for public protests in London against the plans.

He said: “We cannot be bullied with accusations of being nimbys.

“We need a test that makes sure space in urban areas is used first and this should be part of the Draft Regional Spatial Strategy.

“That will help us to defend the countryside.

“Laurence and I also need to get together with MPs in the south west and go to London with bus loads of people behind us to make the Government listen.

“If we turn up the political heat, then just maybe we might become a success story.”

Mike Griffiths travelled from Elmstone Hardwick for the meeting.

He said: “This is not just a campaign by people from Swindon Village, but by the people of Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.

“Residents from both towns have joined together to present a stronger case against these plans.”

The public have until October 24 to make their views known on the Draft Regional Spatial Strategy through a consultation process.

■ Have your say by emailing rssconsult@gosw.gsi.gov.uk.


Gloucestershire County Council, whose web site still features a special section on flooding, is making it clear that it plans to object strongly to the Regional Spatial Strategy, with the main criticisms being around lack of consideration for flood risk and instrastructure planning.

Cabinet member for Environment, Councillor Julie Girling said: “The whole thing is not very well thought-out – in the Government’s terms it ‘lacks soundness’.  “We intend to make our views very clear on this. I’d like to reassure councillors and members of the public that we’ll be reflecting their views in doing so.”

The council is objecting over increased flood fears thousands of new homes would pose to the county and the lack of a flood-risk assessment in the RSS. It also says there is a lack of planning for new infrastructure – roads, schools, medical services – to support the area of new housing.

These are fears shared by us in North West Cheltenham, where the loss of vast tracts of pasture land to housing will mean the replacement of acres of natural water-absorbing meadows. Have a look at these photos to see what we mean. The run-off will surge into the Swilgate which flows north to join the Avon and Severn at Tewkesbury. The result will surely mean more flooding – Councillor Girling is right – this is not well thought-out at all.