Gloucestershire homes plan consultation to begin

Tewkesbury view
Image caption Housing needs in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury are on the agenda

The public is being asked to comment on plans which could see 41,000 homes built in north Gloucestershire.

The Joint Core Strategy (JCS) document, put together by three councils, covers housing needs in Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.

Andrew North, from the JCS, said the plans were "the most important and far-reaching consultations we have carried out over many years".

Public consultation starts on 13 December and ends on 12 February, 2012.

The JCS is a partnership between Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council.

"The JCS, which we hope finally to publish early in 2014, will set out the scale and location of housing and employment development for urban Gloucestershire and its rural fringe for the next 20 years," added Mr North.

He said the plan "should matter to everyone who lives, works, visits or cares about the area".

Population increase

One option in the JCS document - called Developing the Preferred Option - outlines a plan to build nearly 5,000 houses between Swindon Village and Elmstone Hardwicke.

Image caption Gloucestershire's population is predicted to rise by 45,000 in the next 20 years

Helen Wells, from the Save Our Countryside campaign, said the three Gloucestershire councils were going against government guidance.

"On one hand the government is saying 'your greenbelt is safe', yet these three councils together seem to have completely ignored the wishes of our senior politicians," she said.

"I'm really worried."

Steve Jordan, the Liberal Democrat leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, hoped "thousands of people" would comment on the plans.

"The scenarios that are being put forward are somewhere between 16,000 and 41,000 [houses]," he said.

"People's input is going to be vital in deciding where the three councils go next."

The document identifies four development options for the lifetime of the plan.

Conservative-controlled Gloucestershire County Council has said there will be an increase in population in the northern part of the county of about 45,000 over the next two decades.

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