This letter was written to the councillors from Gloucester City council proceeded their consideration of the JCS ‘Preferred Options’ document. It lays out our dismay at the process which it likely to see the document passed with all its flaws, omissions, inaccuracies and downright biased view.

TO ALL JCS STEERING GROUP MEMBERS

Dear Steering Group Member

We understand that, if Gloucester City agrees, then all three Joint Core Strategy Districts will be prepared to allow the JCS ‘Preferred Options’ information to go out to public consultation, unrevised and with whatever omissions and flaws may have been identified during the Councils’ discussions on the document, particularly with reference to the housing Scenarios A – D.

The rationale for allowing the go-ahead appears to be that, if the Officers’ recommendations, which are already in the public domain, are altered at this late stage, this would provide Appeals ammunition for developers now relying on the recommendations.

The first very sad thing is that the document seems to have been presented to the Councils as a fait accompli, take it or leave it, rather than as a consultation draft where any problems identified could be solved before it reached publication.

There seem to us to be two terrible effects of letting the document go forward without review or revision of those points Councillors have already queried.

Firstly, we should be so sorry if the three District Councils are called to account for allowing the publication of information many Councillors suspect to be flawed or misleading. Surely this could cause even more trouble for the Councils – even heading towards maladministration?

Secondly, to rely on the public to spot the flaws and challenge the weaknesses on
your behalves, and actually for them to take a positive and informed part in sufficient numbers to correct the document, is surely pie in the sky and almost an abrogation of your responsibilities as our democratic representatives.

For instance, how would Joe Public gainsay the ‘doomed collapse of civilisation’ predicted by the Team in Scenario A? Wouldn’t he say, on reading the document as it is now, “If the OFFICERS and a COMPUTER model and the COUNCIL say it, it must be true. So bother, we can’t vote to save the Green Belt as the housing market will fail, all the 19 – 59 year old workers will leave, there’ll be 84% of oldies and we’ll all be overcrowded. So, we’ll have to choose Scenario B, even though it means that 4 out of every 5 houses in 20 years’ time will only have one person living in them and even though it means so much of our green countryside being concreted over.”

Surely you should not go out to an innocent public and waste their time (and yours) by asking them to comment on what may be faulty statistics.

Please agree to initiate a speedy review of the housing Scenarios and the weighting of the input into the Gloucester Affordability Model which seems to us to have produced such questionable results – perhaps because of an inflated 2.3% growth rate.

Yours faithfully

Alice Ross

Secretary, Save the Countryside

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