March 2010

The Lib Dems have just published their local manifesto for Cheltenham borough. Click below to download.


The Tory have published a Green Paper on “Open Source Planning”. Read it here.
STC have published a response.

The paper looks promising. They claim they will protect green belt, agricultural land, reclassify gardens as green field, support local democracy and abandon the RSS. There planning process will be driven by local people rather than from the top. Planning inspectors are given a review role and will not be able to force through planning applications. However, they are sticking to “Option 1” housing targets which have their origin in the RSS process and will keep the 5 year supply of land for housing rule. We think it will impossible to stick to the “Option 1” housing targets and protect green belt, etc…

Alice has written to Gloucestershire council regarding the “Option 1” housing targets. See her letter and response from a Conservatives councillor below.

Dear Councillor Dare

Our group, Save the Countryside, has been considering the recent ‘Open Source Planning’ Green Paper which may lead to a change in the planning system should the Conservatives win the next Election. As you probably know, they would abolish the RSS within the first ten weeks of office, and the rest of their proposals would form part of the Queen’s speech.

I attach our letter of representation for your information. We have outlined some areas of concern, particularly the commitment to make Local Authorities adhere to their ‘Option 1’ housing targets submitted in 2004-2005.

In the light of our letter, is the County perfectly happy with the Option 1 figures you were obliged to give back then? If not, do you think that a happier revision of the Green Paper could be achieved reflecting our community?

Yours sincerely

Alice Ross
Secretary, Save the Countryside

The response from Councilor Mark Hawthorne (Cabinet member for planning) is below:

Thank you for your email of the 24th March to Barry Dare.  As the Cabinet Member for Planning, Barry has asked me to reply on his behalf.

I wanted to start by paying tribute to the work that you and your organisation have done on this issue.  You have really helped us to make the case to our national party about the need to scrap the RSS.  I also welcome your support for the majority of the proposals contained within the green paper.

I would admit to some concerns about the appropriateness of returning to the option 1 level in the original draft of the RSS, although, it should be noted that this would still be a considerably better position than we find ourselves in at present.  I would agree that, given the substantial changes to the economy since 2004, it would seem prudent to me for these to be re-examined.

Many thanks.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Mark Hawthorne

Cabinet Member for Planning, Gloucestershire County Council