Cheltenham and Tewkesbury MPs blast plans for 33,000 homes
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build thousands of homes on greenbelt land have been condemned by the MPs for Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.
Both Martin Horwood, Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham, and Laurence Robertson, Conservative MP for Tewkesbury, have criticised the Joint Core Strategy (JCS).
The JCS has earmarked nine major development sites around Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, and Gloucester which will see just shy of 15,000 homes built on them by 2031.
That is in addition to some 18,500 homes which are already in the pipeline across the three areas.
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The councils for each of the three areas drew up the plans.
Mr Horwood said: "I was pretty horrified by the number of houses on the greenbelt to the northwest of Cheltenham and Leckhampton and close to Hatherley.
"This incursion into the greenbelt was completely
unexpected. I don't think the tools nationally available to protect green spaces have been used.
"This plan is more housing than we need to meet housing demand in Cheltenham."
Mr Robertson said plans to build a mixture of housing and business premises in Ashchurch were probably a sensible use of brownfield land.
But he adamantly opposed the proposal for nearly 5,000 houses between Elmstone Hardwicke and Swindon
The land is on the edge of Cheltenham but in Tewkesbury borough and Parliamentary constituency.
He said: "I don't have too much of a problem using the site of the Army camp for a mix of housing and employment use.
"But I do with plans to use the greenbelt or flood plains.
"I think we should take a step back and question why we need all these houses here. That's nearly 10,000 people.
"I really want the councils to go back to the Government and say 'we don't have the land for this' and put the pressure on them to sort something out."
Mr Roberston added that he was keen to see other smaller towns in Gloucestershire take their fare share of new development.
He said: "I don't think that Tewkesbury should take everything that Gloucester and Cheltenham can't sustain.
"Areas in the Cotswolds, district Stroud and Forest of Dean should help as well."
Public consultation on the housing proposals will start in October.