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