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Tewkesbury Borough Council agrees to controversial JCS housing plan, Cheltenham and Gloucester councils up next

By jrmaidment  |  Posted: April 07, 2014

Tewkesbury Borough Council agrees to controversial JCS housing plan, Cheltenham and Gloucester councils up next
Comments (9)

A divisive housing plan has been given the green light by Tewkesbury Borough Council.

After a fiery and occasionally ill-tempered meeting councillors voted by 18 to 15 to ratify the joint core strategy (JCS) which will see 30,500 homes built across Tewkesbury, Cheltenham and Gloucester between 2011 and 2031.

Tewkesbury’s plan partners, Gloucester City Council and Cheltenham Borough Council, are due to vote on the JCS tomorrow evening and Wednesday afternoon, respectively.

It took Tewkesbury more than four hours to reach agreement - and it was far from plain sailing.

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Opposition councillors tried and failed to make changes to the final version of the plan, but they were repeatedly thwarted by the Conservative administration’s greater numbers.

The first amendment, put by independent councillors, called for a large site at Ashchurch, land which is currently occupied by the MOD, to be deleted from the JCS with its housing allocation of 2,125 homes to be re-allocated to Highnam.

The amendment was defeated 20 votes to 14.

Meanwhile, the second amendment came from the Liberal Democrats.

They called for the homes planned for a site in South Churchdown, 868 in total, to be deleted from the plan, for the houses earmarked at North Brockworth to be halved from 1,500 to 750 and for 825 homes to be built at Twigworth – a site previously removed from the JCS.

They also called for 800 homes to be built at Highnam.

The amendment was lost 20 to 14.

Having seen their amendment defeated, the Lib Dems then put a motion to try and defer the JCS vote until new figures on population projections are published by the Office for National Statistics and until Stroud District Council’s housing plan is fully examined.

It too was lost 20 to 14.

Finally, councillors were asked whether or not they wanted to formally rubberstamp the JCS with 18 voting yes and 15 voting no.

One Conservative voted against the plan, while another opted to abstain.

Councillor Derek Davies (C, Highnam and Haw Bridge), lead member for built environment at the authority, described the JCS debate as a case of “haves versus have nots” and “evidence versus ignorance”.

He said: “It is imperative that we have a plan in place if we are to prevent ad-hoc development and to be able to plan positively for the future.

“It is important.”

Liberal Democrats said the JCS in its current guise will have “catastrophic” consequences for some communities.

They also attacked the Conservative administration, and the council leader, Robert Vines, for their handling of the plan, with Councillor Vince Perez (LD, Brockworth) stating he felt “sorely let down” by Mr Vines.

He said: “We should have had a fair plan, palatable to all, something that we could have taken pride in.”

If Gloucester and Cheltenham councils follow Tewkesbury’s lead and vote to agree the JCS it will then be put out for one final round of consultation before being put before the Secretary of State to examine.

If one of the authorities rejects the plan all three will have to go back to the drawing board.

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9 comments

  • badger12  |  April 08 2014, 3:47PM

    Good memory North Glos EPC.

  • North Glos EPC  |  April 08 2014, 3:24PM

    Yes Yes alright perhaps it was operator error. Retyped the whole thing from memory when the first go didn't seem to work. That's why there is a small difference. But please let's get back to the issue in hand, that being how the JCS plan is going to be disasterous for many areas of the county.

  • MrDuffer  |  April 08 2014, 2:27PM

    agent006...I agree.............operator error

    |   -2
  • agent006  |  April 08 2014, 11:29AM

    Posting two different comments usually results in them both appearing. That's not the fault of the site.

    |   2
  • North Glos EPC  |  April 08 2014, 10:50AM

    Seems my comment made it onto this site twice again. What is it with this website that causes this?

    |   1
  • North Glos EPC  |  April 08 2014, 10:31AM

    Well the fools who make up the majority of Tewkesbury council have been sucked in and have gone for it. Conservative councilors too. They still want to build on flood prone land stolen from the Green Belt. Only a month or two ago David Cameron a Conservative Prime Minister while visiting a flooded Longlevens said "lessons must be learnt" and Nick Boles a Conservative planning minister recently gave guidance that Green Belt development should be avoided. Clearly Tewkesbury Conservative councilors have learning difficulties and/or are deaf. And what was it Councillor Derek Davies said, "the JCS is a case of evidence versus ignorance"? Well I'd agree with that. I have first hand personal eyewitness evidence of standing water on Green Belt land they want to build on, and so does the Prime Minister, but still they want to do it so it's pretty clear who is in ignorance. I hope and prey the councilors of Gloucester and Cheltenham are blessed with more common sense and reject this work of lunacy which is the JCS plan and send the planners back to think again, or better still get some more sensible planners to do the job. As for the Tewkesbury Conservative councilors I'll be looking to and campaigning to vote them out of office at the next available opportunity. "Sorely let down" is very much an understatement, "betrayed by idiots" is how I'd put it.

    |   -1
  • North Glos EPC  |  April 08 2014, 10:06AM

    Well, it looks like the fools making up the majority of Tewkesbury council have been sucked in and have gone for it. Despite events of this Winter they still want to build on flood prone land and still want to steal Green Belt. Most of them Conservatives too, and only recently a Conservative PM while visiting a flooded Longlevens said "lessons must be learnt". A Conservative planning minister Nick Boles gave out guidance that Green Belt development should be avoided. Looks like Tewkesbury Conservative Councilors have serious learning difficulties to me. And what was it Councillor Derek Davies said "the debate is a case of evidence versus ignorance". Well I'd agree with that I have personal eyewitness evidence of standing water just where they propose building on Green Belt to the North of Gloucester, and so does the Prime Minister. Pretty clear who is in ignorance. I hope and prey the councilors of Gloucester and Cheltenham are blessed with more common sense than the majority of Tewkesbury councilors and kick this dogs dinner of a JCS plan will into the long grass. One thing for sure is I'll be looking to, and campaigning to, vote out of office the Conservative councilors responsible at the next opportunity. "sorely let down" is very much an understatement, "betrayed by idiots" is how I'd put it.

    |   1
  • agent006  |  April 08 2014, 9:24AM

    Voted to abstain? If you vote to abstain on such an important issue you should resign. You are employed to vote on issues and if you abstain on a major one such as this you should leave your seat available to someone who is able to make decisions.

    |   2
  • SandraPee  |  April 08 2014, 8:41AM

    Why shouldn't Highnam have it's fair share of the new housing ?

    |   9

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