September 2013


It was with dismay that I heard that Cheltenham Borough Council voted through the Joint Core Strategy which ear marks green field and greenbelt land around Cheltenham for massive housing development. The Lib Dems and the Tories have both promised to protect the greenbelt yet they vote through a plan to build on it, and have failed to listen to consultations.

The people we vote for are both spineless and powerless. Planning inspectors, the government and developers lawyers can easily overturn their objections. Call this localism? The housing target has been shown time and time again to be based on unrealistic estimates of economic growth and immigration to the area. Yes, we need homes but for local people but we need to develop brownfield sites first, something the council has failed to promise.



I commonly walk the fields around Swindon Village before breakfast with my 7 year old son, he loves it, we learn about nature and experience the beauty together. The loss of green space will be felt most sorely by his generation. We need to start valuing quality of life rather than GDP. Please sign our petition

From the Gloucestershire Echo on Saturday 7th September 13. It seems like councillors don’t like the JCS but they were forced to publish it because of fear of a developers free for all if no plan is in place. This is a sorry state of affairs. We vote in these people yet this unpopular plan is forced through on both our democratically elected representatives and on the public. It is driven by the officers in the council who are not elected.

VEHEMENT criticism from political parties in Cheltenham was not enough to derail a housing blueprint which will see thousands of homes built on green belt land.

Councillors agreed through gritted teeth to endorse a plan which will see 33,449 homes built across Gloucester, Cheltenham, and Tewkesbury between 2011 and 2031.

Cheltenham Borough Council follows Tewkesbury in approving the plan, and Gloucester’s full council votes on it on Thursday evening.

Cheltenham’s marathon meeting at the Municipal Offices, lasting more than four and a half hours, eventually finished on Thursday night with a narrow vote in favour of sending the plan out for consultation.

But many councillors during the session suggested the decision to vote in favour had more to do with fearing the consequences of a “no” vote.

Gloucester’s planning policy sub-committee agreed with the JCS plan on Wednesday ahead of its hearing at full council.

Voting on the publication of the Joint Core Strategy was carried out by Tewkesbury borough council yesterday. They voted 19 for vs 13 against, so it went though. This plan will see the greenbelt boundary changed around Cheltenham to accomodate 4500 homes to the NW of Cheltenham and in Churchdown. If both Gloucestershire and Cheltenham vote it through it will be published for consultation and these horrific plans will be closer to coming to pass.

Some notable comments from the meeting are below:

Councillor Kay Berry, (LD,Churchdown St Johns) said: “When I was elected I promised to protect the greenbelt, especially in Churchdown. I’m so disappointed to see this document. We do need a plan, not this one which decimated the greenbelt.”

Mrs Berry’s opposition to the plans was echoed by Councillor Bill Whelan (LD, Innsworth with Down Hatherley). He said: “If these proposals are passed miles of urban sprawl will spread from Gloucester, encompassing individual local communities with their own identities. There are brownfield sites in Gloucester for homes. This is not about a lack of land, it’s a lack of will.”

On the pro side:

Councillor Derek Davies (C, Highnam with Haw Bridge) is the council member with lead responsibility for the built environment. He proposed the motion, saying: “In a nutshell this will help overcome a flagging economy, give us sustainable growth, and if we vote for this today the public will be consulted, a vote against will mean the public are denied.”

This is not sustainable growth. The plan is to such in a young workforce from other area (presumably) so that we can support the growing elderly population. That makes some sense in a selfish kind of way, but what about those regions which lose those young people. It is blantantly self evidently we cannot keep growing, and keep building on greenfields, since we will have no place to grow our food, nowhere to give us fresh water, no where to find resources, no where to enjoy to countryside. We will cover the whole country in Urban sprawl?

Councillor Jim Mason (C, Winchcombe) mentioned the several large housing developments, such as around Bishops Cleeve that were rejected by councils but overturned on appeal. He said that this lack of a local plan was giving a free for all for developers and that publish one would prevent this applications being overturned on appeal. Well, may be some, but not with the adsurdly high housing figures and plan to move the greenbelt in the current draft JCS. He even said we should vote it through to the public can be consulted. But we were consulted in the housing options previously, 90%+ voted for the lowest housing figures (option A) but yet the report we have to vote on has roughly doubled that figure driven more by the unsustainable ambition of economic growth and immigration rather than local need.

See the full Gloucestershire Echo article here