Martin Horwood addresses the campaign in Committee Room 14

Martin Horwood addresses the campaign in Committee Room 14

 

About 90 people from Gloucestershire congregated at the House of Commons to put pressure on the Government to back down from its deeply flawed Regional Spatial Strategy proposals. The day before we had been told this in a written note from the Minister Iain Wright:

I cannot discuss the content of the RSS or communicate the points raised at our meeting with decision making Ministers about issues raised by regional stakeholders. This is for reasons of fairness and to avoid new issues arising which might necessitate a further round of consultation..

which all seems to fly in the face of democracy. Our party was undeterred however and when a deputation of Gloucester MP’s met the Rt Hon Mr Wright they found him to be very sympathetic. He was impressed both by the strength of feeling and by the force of some of our arguments and while he could not publicly commit to help, the MP’s were pleased to see aides scribbling notes throughout the meeting.

At a debrief to the whole group in Committee Room 14 jointly chaired by Helen Wells and Cheltenham MP Martni Horwood, the mood was upbeat – there was a definite feeling that the messagewas beginning to get through. Some evidence of this can be seen in one of the comments after the meeting by a spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government who said: “The South West is facing long term housing shortages and affordability issues.  It is already the only region with above average house prices and below average incomes. If more homes are not built the housing ladder will get even further out of reach leaving the next generation with nowhere to live.” 

In response to fears about green belt land however, the spokesman continued: “The government has no intention of weakening the protection given to green belt in planning decisions. We believe it is possible to build the homes future generations need whilst protecting the environment and green spaces.”

There were a number of interviews with regional press and television and there was a good write up of the day in the Gloucesrshire Echo here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/gloucestershire/7842764.stm 

NEXT STEPS:

This weekend the focus switches to the local dump – why build houses near the toxic waste facility at Stoke Orchard? This Saturday, 31st January, Grundon are putting on a public exhibition about their proposals for 20 more years of operations at Wingmoor Quarry and Wingmoor Farm.
 
If you need transport or do not wish to drive onto Grundon’s site, SWARD are running a minibus shuttle, financed by Bishop’s Cleeve Parish Council.  The minibus will start at 9.30 am and run continuously till the exhibition ends. Simply wait outside Bishop’s Cleeve Community Centre.

We are planning another meeting in February and will publish that date nearer the time – its important we keep up the pressure.

In the meantime, enjoy this coverage on ITV West with star performances from Helen Wells, Barry Simon, and Martin Horwood.

http://www.itvlocal.com/west/news/?player=WST_News_15&void=279869

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