Gloucester City Council last night voted in favour of the Joint Core Strategy which will see thousands of new homes built in the county.
Some 31,500 homes are planned between 2011 and 2031. The strategy outlines where new housing and employment sites could go, as well as plans for new infrastructure such as roads, schools and community facilities.
The plan will be sent to the Government for approval.
New strategic housing sites include:
Innsworth - 1,250
North Churchdown - 532
South Churchdown - 868
North Brockworth - 1,500
North West Cheltenham - 4,785
South Chelt Leckhampton - 1,124
MOD Site at Ashchurch - 2,125
Total: 12,184 homes
Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “Developers would have a field day if we do not approve this plan. Not approving it would give developers unconditional opportunities and it would be difficult to refuse planning applications in areas that are totally unsuitable.”
Councillor Chris Witts (LD, Elmbridge) said: “I have had concerns about this. We are going into the unknown. It will be the biggest decision I will take in my 14 years as a councillor. I can see the bigger picture and the future where the younger generation are entitled to decent housing.”
Councillor Declan Wilson (LD, Hucclecote) said: “We are leaving a terrible legacy to the next generation including unaffordable housing. This is because we are not building enough houses. It is a simple matter of supply and demand. I am going to vote for the next generation because they quite frankly need all the help they can get.”
Councillor Kate Haigh, leader of the Labour group, said: “It is not lightly that we are taking this decision. This allows us in Gloucester to have a future plan for a housing need that already exists. There are people who can’t afford to buy a property. We need a plan and this is it.”
But not every councillor agrees with the plan and councillors were not divided down party lines.
Councillor Jim Porter (C, Longlevens) said: “In Longlevens we are already struggling with congested roads and our doctor’s surgeries and schools are full. We cannot cope with any more development.”
Councillor Kathy Williams (C, Longlevens) said: “The impact of new homes will be devastating for my area. The recent bad weather saw both sides of the A38 covered in water and it became a marshland. Some of those areas are now being considered for building. Currently 570 homes are being built in Longford Lane. This will have a serious impact on people living here.”
Follow the meeting here with Mike Wilkinson: