A controversial housing plan has been rubberstamped by Cheltenham Borough Council.
It took the authority five hours of debate to reach a majority agreement with 18 votes in favour of the blueprint known as the joint core strategy (JCS) and 14 votes against.
Cheltenham was the last of three partner councils which have been working on the plan for more than five years to vote on whether or not to agree to its content.
Tewkesbury Borough Council ratified the plan on Monday evening while Gloucester City Council did the same on Tuesday night.
And Cheltenham’s decision to follow suit means the JCS can continue with one more round of consultation on whether or not the plan is sound before it is submitted to the Government for examination.
It sets out where 30,500 homes will be built across the three areas between 2011 and 2031.
However, while Tewkesbury and Gloucester agreed to the JCS without making any changes Cheltenham did undertake some tinkering.
The borough council inserted a cast iron commitment into the plan to revise the JCS housing figures once the latest data on population growth is published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the coming months.
Councillors also agreed to take advantage of the Government’s Local Green Space (LGS) designation tool “where appropriate” to stop some land from being developed.
The designation can be applied to pieces of land which are of “particular importance” to local communities.
The council will “evaluate the potential” of land, particularly sites in the north west of the town and in Leckhampton which have been earmarked for development in the plan, to see if some parts of them could be suitable for LGS protection.
An amendment put forward by Conservative and independent councillors to defer the vote on the JCS until the ONS publishes its new data and until traffic modelling mapping the impact of the planned developments is available was defeated.
The leader of the council, Councillor Steve Jordan (LD, All Saints), said the JCS is the “best option for Cheltenham” going forward.
He warned councillors that voting to scrap the plan could lead to a “developer free for all” because a council without a plan is a council with no defence against unwanted planning applications.
“We wouldn’t be able to protect pretty much anywhere,” he said.
However, not everyone agreed with Mr Jordan’s assessment.
Councillor Duncan Smith (C, Charlton Park) was savage in his criticism of the way in which the plan has been put together, accusing Cheltenham’s Liberal Democrat administration of “slopey shoulders and blame shifting”.
He urged all of his peers not to back the plan, but to no avail.
“If you have any conscience at all about the future of Cheltenham, and what is good for Cheltenham, you cannot vote for this plan,” he said.
The JCS will see 1,124 homes built on green fields at Leckhampton and 4,785 homes built on green belt land off Tewkesbury Road in north west Cheltenham.
Hundreds of homes will also be built on new sites in Innsworth, Churchdown, Brockworth and Ashchurch.