Greenbelt land around Innsworth - but how long for?

Greenbelt land around Innsworth - but how long for?

Please make time to attend a planning meeting at Longford Village Hall, Longford Road, Gloucester, GL2 9DE) at 7pm on Wednesday July 15th. Here’s why…

One of our number attended a recent meeting involving legal counsel for Robert Hitchins and Tewkesbury BC. What follows is an extract from his notes. I you will agree its a compelling case for us to turn up in numbers.

Anthony Crean Q.C . on behalf of the developer Robert Hitchin: The RSS is coming, and on that basis we have the right to build these 1750 (up to 2,500) houses on this Greenbelt search area round Innsworth.

Paul Cairnes on behalf of Tewkesbury Borough and Glouceestershire County councils 

appealed on the following grounds:

– whether there are very special circumstances to justify development within the greenbelt

– whether granting development in advance of the Joint Core Strategy evedence is premature

–  Whether proposal delivers adequate affordable housing

– Whether appropriate design standards have been met

– whether adequate community infrastructure is provided / intrusion into the rural landscape

– The acceptability or otherwise of the proposed s106 (This is code for the SW RSS) obligations offered by the appallent

 So this is maybe two thousand houses plus on the Green Belt between here and Gloucester. It could turn out to be an important test case for the RSS, so please consider coming along on next Wednesday.

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West Worcestershire Liberal Democrat campaigner Richard Burt has lodged a petition with the Number 10 website calling for the suspension of the regional housing targets.

The petition reads:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to suspend regional housing targets determined through the Regional Spatial Strategy, empowering local councils instead to set their own targets based on local, sustainable housing needs assessments and consultation with local communities.

You can sign it at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/SuspendRSS/

Save the Countryside is a non-political organisation, we just want to stop the urban sprawl that will result if the RSS gets the rubber stamp. To do this we need to persuade politicians of all colours to see the strength of our arguments. Well it looks as if campaigning groups like ours have hit a chord with the Conservatives, as can be seen from this excerpt from a statement from Eric Pickles, Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government:

Conservatives have pledged to scrap regional planning and the unelected regional assemblies.

“A Conservative Government will abolish the undemocratic and unwieldy tier of regional planning across England. This will include changing the law to scrap the Regional Spatial Strategies and Regional Planning Bodies (currently the regional assemblies, soon to be RDAs). We will return their powers to elected local councils.
As a logical consequence of scrapping the regional plans, if the RSSs have already been implemented, we will allow councils to revise their local plans (‘Local Development Frameworks’) to undo the changes that the Regional Spatial Strategy forced on them. This will allow local communities to protect their local environment, and decide themselves the most appropriate level of development for their area.”

Fine words – its a forlorn hope that Labout will U-turn on this policy to nullify this vote-catcher, but hopefully it will make them consider the detail more carefully. For example, Margeret Beckett in the Commons this week was put on the spot about the principle of consecutive development which was cut from the final draft of the South West RSS – she responded:

(On the issue of brownfield development..) “this is one of the many targets that others said we could not possibly meet but we have met; in fact, we have exceeded the targets on building on brownfield. I understand his concerns, and I feel sure that all Members will agree with him that we should do this, rather than, as the hon. Member for Esher and Walton (Mr. Taylor) mentioned, go for greenfield development. (Hansard: 18 Nov 2008 : Column 113)”

We just need to keep the pressure up.

This may seem like a rash and brash statement to make but it comes in the light of a written answer to a question submitted in the Commons last week.

Question: What assumptions about annual economic growth rate were made in compiling the housing numbers for South West in the RSS?

Answer: 3.2%

We say: Not flipping likely! These levels of growth are just not going to happen, unless  we go back to piling up huge amounts of unsustainable debt, and starting from where we are now, that just isn’t going to happen. if that figure is then agreed to be wildly overstated, then it follows that population and therefore housing predictions are also wildly overstated. Result? The housing component of the RSS is a busted flush and it has to be back to the drawing board.

Exter Cathegral Close

Exter Cathedral Close

Message from Anne Griffiths:

Hi everyone,
I have been to Tewkesbury Flood Group Meeting tonight.
They have booked a coach to go to Exeter on Friday.
There are plenty of seats left.
The cost is £5.00
The coach will leave The Crescent at Tewkesbury at 8.00 a.m.