Tag Archives: Ashchurch Camp

Pamington Lane Development: Latest news & comment

Starveall 10The Application for the Pamington Lane development finally reached the Planning Committee at Tewkesbury Borough Council at its Meeting this morning.

During a debate which lasted well over an hour, many of the Committee Members discussed the Plans and there was significant agreement with many of the points that I raised on behalf of Residents when I spoke.

Despite many additional points being raised by Committee Members about the clear lack of joined-up thinking in terms of the impact that all of the developments along the A46 are going to have on a road network, which is already far too busy, it became clear that because none of the organisations or agencies such as Gloucestershire Highways or the Highways Agency have raised any objections, there was – in planning terms – no robust reason for the Committee to refuse.

The Committee voted to permit the Application – under delegated authority – on a margin of 7 votes to 6.

I have since been made aware by Residents who attended and were watching from the Public Gallery, that Members who during the debate said that they would not support the Application going ahead, actually didn’t vote – or ‘sat on their hands’.

Sadly, the fact remains that the Joint Core Strategy which arguably prioritised Cheltenham and Gloucester’s development needs way above those of people who live in Tewkesbury Borough, has failed Pamington even before it has been rubber stamped by the Government.

We can only hope that no more significant development applications are submitted from within the Ashchurch with Walton Cardiff Ward – even in outline form – before the Secretary of State reaches a decision – hopefully be in the Autumn. Otherwise, these too are likely to be built without any real regard to the wider impact that they will have on our Community.

Many additional houses will also be built which were never projected within the JCS Plans. These are extra homes that will almost certainly only be added to the significant number of houses already set to be developed, rather than be included within.

We should perhaps not forget that the number of houses now planned for development in Tewkesbury Borough would never have been so high in the first place if we had developed a Strategy for Tewkesbury on its own, during a process which would clearly have been much shorter. By now, it will almost certainly have been complete and in all likelihood have prevented the Pamington Lane Development from going ahead.

Who should we thank for that?

Pamington Development Application: Your views on Access Options

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A number of Pamington Residents have already contacted me to discuss their thoughts on access to the Proposed Development off Pamington Lane, and its potential impact on traffic in the Village.

Road Safety on Pamington Lane is an ongoing issue for local people. It is a problem which has featured heavily in Planning Applications, in discussions and in complaints over its use as a rush-hour cut through, and the speeds that drivers travel.

With this in mind, I am sure that many will be pleased to hear that Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) have contacted Ashchurch Rural Parish Council this week and want to consider local opinion on options, prior to submitting their recommendation to Tewkesbury Borough’s Planning Department before a decision on the Application is then made.

GCC are looking for a response from the Parish very quickly. For this reason, I have asked for and received the permission of the Council to publish the message they received, so that as much feedback as possible can be passed back to GCC before they make their submission. The main points/questions of the note received on Wednesday are as follows:

[We are] reviewing this application on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council highway authority, looking at the local road impact, the Highways Agency will be assessing the impact on the A46.

You will be aware that the developer is proposing to alter the priority of Pamington Lane in order to discourage rat running, see attached plan (please click here – Pamington Lane), I would welcome the PC’s view on this matter, without prejudice to the comments made on the application by APC. If permission is granted with a highway scheme as shown, that scheme cannot be altered at a later date, therefore I would recommend that input is provided at this stage, so that alterations could be made to the scheme in the event that permission is granted. Based on the developer’s plans there are two options:

1. Alter the priority of Pamington Lane as shown on plan. This may to some extent discourage rat running, however it will also mean that existing residents will have to give way on Pamington Lane where they have not in the past. The re-alignment will also help to reduce vehicle speeds by breaking up the relatively long and straight road, with a give way junction.
2. Maintain Pamington Lane as the priority route and have the proposed development arm to the west of Pamington Lane as the give way arm. Existing residents will not be inconvenienced by having to give way on Pamington Lane, however rat running will not be discouraged, and with a wider Pamington Lane carriageway as proposed by the developer (5.5m), vehicle speeds could increase. Potentially traffic calming could be considered to discourage rat running if option 2 is the preferred option.

I would welcome your thoughts on this matter by the 14th January at the latest.

As you can see, the timescale is very short. So if you would like to let me know which – if any – of the options you would prefer – along with any other brief points you may have, could I ask that you e-mail me on councillor.tugwell@tewkesbury.gov.uk by no later than 9.30 am on Tuesday (13th January 2015). I will then pass on the information that I have both to the Parish Council and GCC.

It is important to note that giving your views on the options will not be considered as support for the Application. The decision still rests within the Planning Process and consent is by no means guaranteed at any stage.

I remain of the view that this Proposed Development (TBC Ref: 14/00972/OUT) is not in the best interests of the Ward and that the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) Strategic Allocation for Ashchurch already places an excessive development burden on the area, before any of the additional proposals that we are aware of are considered. However, if this development should be approved either by TBC’s Planning Committee or at some further stage, I also accept that it is vital that the Community and its Representatives have done everything possible to influence the best outcomes for the future which are possible in the circumstances.

The plan attached with the note can again be downloaded by clicking this link: Pamington Lane

 

Aston Fields: Outline Application for 550 Homes

Barratt-Developments-buil-006I can now confirm that an Outline Application has been made and formally listed with Tewkesbury Borough Council for land off Aston Fields Lane, listed under Reference Number 14/01245/OUT, and can be viewed on the Borough’s Planning Portal by following this Link.

This is an Application which has already been discussed by many local people and I have been made aware of the views of many local Residents. Irrespective of whether we have talked about this Proposal before or not, I will be pleased to discuss any concerns that Residents may have and can be contacted by e-mail at councillor.tugwell@tewkesbury.gov.uk. I will also be attending the next Meeting of Ashchurch Rural Parish Council which is scheduled to be held later this Month.

As with all Planning Applications, if you wish to make your views known, the best advice I can give to everyone is to write or e-mail the Planning Department. Your view is always important and even if the result of an application turns out not to be how you would like it to have been, your input will have been put on record, and could turn out to be useful in the future.

image: theguardian.com

The Joint Core Strategy now reaches the Government stage this Thursday. But what happens while we wait for the Autumn 2015 Report and why wasn’t it avoided?

I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time over the last weekend and early part of this week to send e-mails to Members of Tewkesbury Borough Council concerning the Joint Core Strategy process.

The concerns raised are not lost on me in any sense. Many should have already been taken into consideration and acted upon within the JCS programme which is now being handed to the Government for final review on the 20th of November.

Many of you were hoping for change. But the very frustrating part of all this has been that the decisions that really counted were taken over a year ago.

Once a majority of Members voted the project through in early September 2013, no matter what consultations and processes have taken place since, that was basically the whole thing done and dusted, seemingly without any hope of change, unless it were to be rejected at the stage where it is submitted to the Secretary of State.

This itself is extremely unlikely. The whole JCS Process, rather like applications going through the Planning Process itself has been conducted very much as a tick-box exercise.

The modus operandi has been squarely focused upon the requirements placed upon Local Authorities by Central Government and any flexibility which might come from the interpretation which that may have allowed, has almost certainly always been used to facilitate and sure-up the three-way arrangement between Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury which myself and other Members have long since argued has been anything but in the best interests of the people that we as Ward Councillors – and collectively as a Council – represent.

Our voices fell on deaf ears and the practical implications of what is a flawed process and three-Authority-Strategy have been manifesting in the shape of all of the ‘lightning’ developments which have either reached Application stage or are in the processes of doing so, that involve building on land which is not even included within the JCS Strategic Allocation(s). This itself is set to continue until such time as the JCS is formally approved; the Report on which is itself not due until Autumn 2015.

Put the prospect of the developments which could receive consent in the next 12 months to one side, and right around the Borough, there is clearly massive concern about the realities of rubber stamping a long-term Planning Strategy which will effectively give a green light to developers to build across a 20+ year development allocation that will see much of our beautiful landscape and Villages changed forever – when as a Borough, we are and were simply at no stage obliged to make anything remotely like such a commitment.

These kinds of concerns are no less prevalent in the Ashchurch with Walton Cardiff Ward and are probably more so. We are currently witnessing developers looking to build almost everywhere along the A46 apart from the JCS Strategic Allocation in and around the Ashchurch Camp site itself and this doesn’t consider other areas that fall behind the Camp and will no doubt have a significant impact on Northway too.

Nobody should be under any illusion that a combination of the state of the Planning System today and the avoidable time that the JCS has taken – rather than pursuing a much better and wholly expedient Policy just for the Borough – potentially makes such Applications very difficult to stop. In this specific instance alone, it now threatens the very identities of Aston-on Carrant, Aston Cross, Ashchurch and Pamington as independent communities and Villages.

People from outside both the working and political environments of Local Authorities do see the inability of the Planning System to police and enforce the very Policies they have in place, irrespective of whether it is due to the ability of a higher power to override any local decision at a higher level, or whether there simply isn’t the money available in the local public purse to pursue developers who seem to have bottomless pits for pockets where making money is concerned.

Locally, we have already witnessed one company having developed and put into use an industrial sized chicken production unit at Starveall without Planning Consent for a large part of it, once it had Consent for the initial Plan. It is more than regrettable that nobody really knows what might now lie ahead, once the JCS has been put firmly in place.

It is simply wrong that the views of local people are being ignored and where they have not spoken, that their best interests now and for the future are not being considered as they should, by all of the people who are elected to represent them.

Nonetheless, everything you all have to say and how you feel is still important, even if it doesn’t influence a decision the way you might like to see it go this time.

Keep registering your comments, objections and even support for developments – where they will benefit your Community – by contacting your Local Planning Authority and getting them recorded.

Being able to say ‘I told you so’ wont help anybody and certainly wont turn the clock back. But evidence of the strength of your feeling and the reasons why you feel that way certainly does have the ability to influence future decisions.

Better still, it could at some point help those of us who really care to change the System and benefit us all.

 

How much more development in Ashchurch before the traffic problems are taken seriously?

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Traffic on the A46 at Ashchurch near Junction 9 of the M5, July 2014

With the Joint Core Strategy’s (JCS) final Public Consultation Phase only having began earlier this week, it really seems quite incredible that a Developer has already began moves towards building over 500 homes and a School on the Northern side of Ashchurch Camp.

Earmarked as part of the JCS Strategic Allocation which includes the Camp, comments suggesting that the Developer concerned may have jumped the gun are already well in circulation. However, it could be asked if this Plan gives a better illustration of the approach which nearly all commercial developers are employing, and one which certainly doesn’t fit with phrases they use to describe their plans in their publicity brochures, such as ‘homes which are much needed by the community’. This does after all come hot on the heels of two other developments in the immediate vicinity which will themselves supply around 300 new homes in the Ashchurch Rural Parish – and which without the JCS being formally ‘rubber stamped’ are regrettably no less likely to go ahead.

So even without the 2000 or more homes earmarked for the Ashchurch Camp at some point between now and 2030, just this Parish alone stands to absorb the better part of a thousand homes with not even the merest hint of comparable job creation in the area of a kind which would necessitate even a fraction of this level of development in the immediate area any time soon.

Sadly, this can only lead people living around the Ashchurch with Walton Cardiff Ward to conclude that these homes – if built – will be occupied by commuters who will most likely have 2 cars per household, thereby adding around perhaps 1500 cars to either the A46, the B4079, the roads around Northway or in fact all of them each morning, evening and basically any other time.

Many Residents are already feeling dumbstruck by the quick-fire succession of opportunist Developments along the A46. With an even bigger one that nobody had expected to hear sight nor sound of until the fate of the Camp was definitely known, now on the cards, it is the realities which surround the traffic problems on the A46 which are causing universal concern.

At Monday evening’s Meeting of Ashchurch Rural Parish Council’s Planning Committee, the Developer now carrying out consultation on building 45 homes South of Ashchurch Village was more than happy that the Highways Agency had expressed no concern with regard to the impact their plans would have on the A46, despite the experiences that many of us have almost daily.

With the Representatives present stating to the Council that they had been advised their Plans would have no excessive impact on the capacity of the road network – basically an indication that Highways Officials believe the roads can take more traffic without any major change – it is perhaps little wonder that Developers are apparently falling over themselves to get their Projects built before they find themselves having to contribute to what will at some point become a very expensive process of extensive restructuring the existing Roads or building a new by-pass of some kind – if that indeed remains possible by that time.

My views and approach to the JCS are well known by Residents and I take no pleasure from seeing the chaos which this flawed Strategy is causing to Communities right across Tewkesbury Borough, even before it actually comes into being.

I, like a number of other Tewkesbury Borough Councillors made clear at a variety of points in the process that the best solution for Residents was a Strategy which focused on the Borough – not least of all because of the delays which would inevitably be caused by working with two other Authorities which themselves had much more to gain by drawing out the process for as long as it takes for them to get the best solution to their own Development problems. That unnecessarily delayed process which is being used as a significant window of opportunity by Developers continues, and it seems to be all at the cost of Residents in Tewkesbury Borough and the Ashchurch with Walton Cardiff Ward in particular.

We can only hope that when these Proposals reach the Borough Planning Committee, they are rejected on the basis of what has already been promised by this Policy, and in the case of the Development North of the Camp, held back until such time as the Community will not be expected to experience perhaps years of inconvenience and enhanced levels of danger because the infrastructure doesn’t exist that will lead to Residents experiencing otherwise.

 

 

A Chicken Farm in Pamington may suit the needs of one business, but will do little to bolster the quality of life for anybody else living there

Thursday December 13th 2012 saw not just a first, but third meeting held locally to discuss the pending Planning Application made on behalf of FC Jones and Co, to build a ‘Poultry Unit’ at Starveall Farm near Pamington.

Emotions ran high amongst what was a very large local audience for a Parish Planning Meeting, made up of Residents, Farmers and those representing local Businesses not only from Pamington itself, but also from Ashchurch, Claydon, Tredington Fields and the surrounding areas. It would be fair to say that the Applicant and their Agent Bruton Knowles’ unsolicited decision to step back from their request to take part in the Meeting only hours before, probably led to a far more productive evening for those present as questions were methodically asked of Borough and County Officers, whilst a list of growing concerns were tabled.

As a local Elected Member of Tewkesbury Borough Council representing the Ashchurch with Walton Cardiff Ward, it was clear from the moment that the Applicant’s ‘Community Consultation Scheme Summary’ hit my doormat in September that the Plan would be at best controversial, and it wasn’t long before the true level of local concern over what some consider to be the possible creation of an industrial sized ‘chicken factory’ became very clear indeed.

From my own perspective, each and every one of the issues which have been raised to date are very real indeed and many in isolation should be justification enough for the rejection of a Scheme which could negatively impact upon real lives in many ways. However it is once again inappropriate use and traffic levels along Pamington Lane which cause the greatest level of concern, when misuse of an ‘access only’ road by through traffic, speeding and littering are already a major and historic concern for residents and Councillors alike.

Adding regular and repeated Heavy Goods traffic onto a road which simply wasn’t constructed with this purpose in mind would arguably create an additional and therefore unacceptable level of danger to road users, pedestrians and even horse riders in a rural backwater where it genuinely does appear to be the case that it is only the Herefordshire-based Applicant who is in favour of the change.

Equally, access to the Starveall site itself is yet another issue which is far from clear as the Applicant does not own the historic, picturesque and wildlife-rich trackway to the site, which I understand has never required any form of upgrade since it was used only by horse and cart, and would require further development to be genuinely fit for purpose – a matter which has not even been agreed with the landowners.

It is in fact probably on this note and that of the Applicant’s and their Agent’s approach where much of my own early concerns were raised when it became immediately clear upon written request that the ‘Reports’ which would have substantiated the statements made on the ‘Consultation’ document stating that all areas of concern had been addressed were basically not then available.

Minded that many of the serious environmental-impact related questions raised by participants at the December Meeting should have already been at this stage answered by the existence of this apparently robust set of Reports, many will share similar concerns that the last of the Applicant-based Consultation material was not made available on the web until what I understand was just a matter of days before the Application was submitted.

It would perhaps on this basis be easy to conclude that a meaningful consultation did not therefore take place with all those who would be affected and likely that many would also conclude from the chain of events that comprehensive support for the Application may have simply just been assumed.

Ashchurch Rural Parish Council’s Planning Meeting was held and facilitated that evening in a highly professional manner which is a fitting endorsement to this comparatively new, but highly proactive Council. The Committee unanimously voted against both the Application for the Poultry Unit and an associated Domestic Dwelling, and the matter now passes to the Planning Committee of Tewkesbury Borough for decision, probably early next Month.

Environmental factors and Road Safety will surely be the biggest points for consideration, but I also hope that impact upon the quality of life of those who already call these Villages home will be clearly in mind.

After all, it is not just today’s residents who may be affected by the plans. The poignancy of the future for the Ashchurch Camp is illustrated only too well by the recent opening of the Ashchurch View Care Home, where residents currently enjoy open and freshly fragranced field views across our beautiful countryside.  Should the site be closed, few would doubt that its development as part of a Joint Core or the preferable Single Core Strategy for Tewkesbury would follow. But even large scale Developers are unlikely to give good money for land which people may no longer pay top rates for once developed and this may well be a fact that the decision makers would wish to ponder.

Members of the Planning Committee will consider the full list of concerns that have been raised along with the evidence that has been provided. We can only ask that the Councillors concerned draw a similar conclusion to Residents and formally decide that Pamington and the surrounding areas simply don’t need an industrial sized Chicken Farm.

To read about the outcome of the Application, please click here

A new Sainsburys for Ashchurch could be a great addition to the local economy; but a development like this needs to consider each aspect of the impact it will have on the lives and businesses it will affect and not just the effort it takes their customers to shop.

Sainsburys proposal to build a new store off Junction 9 of the M5 on the A46 at Ashchurch has certainly started to stir the thoughts of many in the area and not least of all amongst Residents within the Ashchurch with Walton Cardiff Ward which borders the site.

With significant housing development sites proposed within the Options of the ‘Preferred Option for a Joint Core Strategy’ (JCS) in the area, some could argue that Sainsburys are undertaking a timely and highly opportune step. Others are already drawing battle lines upon the damage which they speculate such a store would inflict upon the businesses and economy of central Tewkesbury and it is perfectly natural that such concerns need not only to be aired, but considered properly too.

As a local Elected Member, I am concerned about the impact that such a Store would have upon the lives of people living within my Ward, but also recognise that there would also be many advantages to the development coming to the area, not least in terms of the reduced travel requirement for the many local people who currently shop at the Tewkesbury Road Store on the A4019 in Cheltenham – a point not lost upon Sainsburys themselves, who readily placed information boards about the Project for their customers within the entrance of that Store.

Perhaps my biggest concern right now would be the public perception that the JCS will be adopted and that as such, the closure of Ashchurch Camp is not only a foregone conclusion, but also imminent – which at the time of publishing this Blog, it most definitely is not – and that nearby Fiddington is also sure to become host to yet another urban sprawl of the soulless nature you need only travel a few miles to witness at the North of Bishops Cleeve in the Homelands Developments.

Whilst there is a big question to be answered regarding the continuing growth in out-of-town supermarkets, I am considering this specific Proposal in terms of its impact upon the immediate area itself and therefore in isolation, rather than as part of the considerably more complicated issue of retail market share, the growth of supermarket chains and what this will mean for us all in the future. I will perhaps talk about this in a different entry.

On a practical level, study the Plans which Sainsburys have submitted to Tewkesbury Borough Council and you will quickly note that proposed changes to the A46 could create absolute mayhem with the construction of a roundabout which is clearly planned with more focus upon entry to the Store than it is in consideration of the flow of traffic in either direction.

With the Plans making no mention on the impact of additional traffic and a questionable change to traffic flow on an already difficult staggered Northway and Fiddington junction with the A46 – only part of which is light controlled – one has to wonder just how much consideration has been given to the already hideous traffic problems that we already experience, not least of all since the Highways Agency added light-controls onto Junction 9 making peak-time travel in the area a monotonous task to say the least.

On the upside, the addition of a Supermarket which really has been thought out in terms of its impact upon local infrastructure and the wider community would also bring a variety of benefits to a customer base which would go way beyond Tewkesbury and in all likelihood bring shoppers to the area who would not currently travel there and perhaps leave the M5 for any other reason.

With fuel prices keeping us all very concerned, the arrival of a new Petrol Station opposite the BP Site would certainly drive local prices down and potentially create other opportunities for smaller businesses to attract the passing custom into Tewkesbury itself which will be drawn to such a facility.

Those concerned about businesses in Tewkesbury could well be right about a loss of jobs and business closures and neither event would be one that I would wish to see in any event. But a Sainsburys in Ashchurch would arguably facilitate a massive net gain in employment, not least of all for those people seeking part-time work that may currently be impractical to consider with a shortage of this type of work available on such a scale locally.

Looking at the Plans and what they will mean for local people, on balance, a Sainsburys which has been built in consideration of its impact on the wider community – and not just within a few yards of the front gate, could well prove to be a significant boost for the area.

Whilst there are questions that require answers and issues to be resolved, working with the Company now to address these concerns to the satisfaction and mutual gain of all would perhaps be a very sensible plan indeed. It is after all in Sainsburys interests to be seen to support the communities which ‘feed’ custom into it’s Stores and Tewkesbury Town businesses could do a lot worse than to discuss the role of a new Store within the local economy in parallel with the Application Process, even as they make their arguments for its rejection.

As a local Borough Councillor representing Ashchurch with Walton Cardiff, it is in fact Highways issues that concern me most of all as the Application goes forward. I see nothing good coming to the Residents I represent from the road changes as they have so far been proposed and would go as far to say that it would not be good news for anyone who uses the A46 and roads that join from the Business Parks, from Fiddington, Northway or in fact Tewkesbury itself.

If Sainsburys are serious about winning support, they will have to raise their game considerably in considering the traffic and community issues that its construction would generate and demonstrate to us all that they have done so. The Store could prove be a great addition to the local economy; but a development like this needs to consider each aspect of the impact it will have on the lives and businesses it will affect and not just the effort it takes their customers to shop.

You wouldn’t invite your neighbours to build a remote extension in your garden and Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Planning Strategy should be exactly the same.

Sadly, the upholding of the Planning Appeal in respect of the Homelands and Cleevelands Developments in Bishops Cleeve this week has highlighted just how far away Government-derived Planning Legislation actually sits from serving people effectively at a local level. It comes as a highly appropriate reminder that when considering a ‘Preferred Option’ for a Joint Core Strategy (JCS) for Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury, we must work to retain the greatest level of influence for Tewkesbury Borough’s future development within the Borough itself.

As I and a number of other Councillors made clear through an extensive debate when the decision was taken by a majority of Councillors to go out to Consultation on a set of ‘Preferred Options for a Joint Core Strategy’ in October 2011, there is an option which has not been openly publicised or pursued, but which exists and is very real nonetheless. An option which I have already publicly argued as being much more suited and favourable to the needs of current and future Tewkesbury Borough Residents. An option which I have no reason to doubt will benefit only the Borough itself, rather than creating disadvantage to Residents which is completely unnecessary and avoidable, whilst our two urban neighbours have everything to gain.

Whilst the public documents in circulation and even the literature circulated regarding a recent Consultation on the potential closure of the Ashchurch Camp within my Ward arguably indicate that a JCS is inevitable in one form or another, the fact remains that we could – and in my view should – proactively choose to develop and implement a Strategy for Tewkesbury on its own, or if you like, a ‘Single Core Strategy’, with the JCS being consigned to the dustbin with other local authority projects of questionable origins.

One of the great injustices of contemporary politics in this Country is the way that debates, ideas, views and just about everything political seems to be presented or rather ‘spun’ in a way which favours the outcome which is intended. It’s not a question of saying that anyone is lying and without good reason, I would never actively seek to suggest that is actually what has happened. It is simply the case that the desire to achieve any aim to which some involved in government in one capacity or another have become emotionally committed can all too easily lead to the existence of uncomfortable truths which they may not wish to openly entertain.

Equally, excuses such as ‘cost’ can come into play and prevent alternative and potentially better options from emerging, especially when they may not seem as politically expedient to embrace. So I’m sure that anyone who has read this far will know and understand that the absence of certain options, suggestions or indeed facts even innocently left absent, can quickly lead to an assumption for some that they simply do not exist.

On its own, Tewkesbury Borough Council and its Planning Committee have the ability and expertise to develop and implement a Borough-wide Policy which considers all of our housing and commercial property development needs and ‘requirements’, both now and for the foreseeable future. It is these public decision making bodies which local Residents have Elected for that purpose and who should make those very decisions – and those very local decisions on their own – without obligation or pressure from others who have no legitimate right to make such demands.

There is no Legal obligation upon Tewkesbury Borough to work within a partnership of 3 Local Authorities, effectively leaving it to have to accommodate the projected housing requirements of not just one but all three of those Authorities for the period in question. We do not and should not have to accept such excessive rates of development, especially when there is absolutely no benefit to the Borough and its Residents in being required to do so.

So when it comes to even setting development figures for Tewkesbury Borough itself so far in advance, I would argue that the only true beneficiaries from the ear-marking of development land on such a scale are developers themselves and those whose agendas have as yet to become fully clear.

After all, the rate of development needs dictated by genuine requirement in growth of population rather than lifestyle or investment choice will arguably be far less than the rates which have been suggested. Not since the Blitz of the 1940’s have we experienced a de facto requirement for housing development on any kind of industrial scale and there is no cogent argument which suggests that we are in a position with any such similarities now.

Regrettably, until changes take place which leave all Planning decisions in the hands of the people most qualified to make them in the locality within which they are to take place, we have no option but to accept that general Planning Policy has and will be derived from within Central Government. However, within that framework which already exists, Local Councillors and Planning Committee Members have the ability to ensure that they make the very best local decisions possible for the benefit of the people that they collectively represent as an independent Council.

We will not achieve this by putting the needs of Cheltenham Borough and Gloucester City before that of Tewkesbury Residents and allowing others to build in the future, where today there is not a single reason for us to allow them to do so.