Cost of Joint Core Strategy is more than £1million
SOLVING the county's housing crisis has already cost more than £1million.
Figures released by the three authorities behind the Joint Core Strategy – the blueprint setting out where and how many houses need to be built in the next 20 years – has revealed the amount of money it is costing.
Hiring consultants and ensuring the public has its say over the past five years has left Cheltenham Borough, Tewkesbury Borough and Gloucester City councils footing a bill of £365,000 each.
As partner authorities, the three councils share the costs of the process equally.
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By the time the finishing touches are put on the JCS the total bill is expected to be around £1.1million.
Speaking on behalf of all three authorities, Andrew North, Cheltenham Borough Council's chief executive, said the spending was necessary.
"We have to get this right," he said. "It would be a false economy to do this on the cheap.
"If the public are asking 'why are you spending so much money on the JCS?', my answer would be because it is the most important thing that we have to do.
"It is a very complex process with a lot of public consultation and it is important that we have a lot of public consultation but regrettably that is an expensive process.
"The general public would not thank us if we said we would not go through consultation to save money."
Almost half of the expected bill will be money spent on consultants given the job of assessing flood risks and building on the greenbelt.
The councils are also committing thousands of hours of civil servant time into the scheme.
The three authorities estimate their planning teams spend approximately 3,450 hours a year each supporting the JCS programme.
Mr North said councils have to commit enough time to the process to get the job done.
He added: "We are spending that amount of time because it is the amount of time that is needed.
"This is not a process that can be short circuited. We need to recognise that it will be time consuming to do it properly because it is such an important issue.
"We have to get it right. You cannot cut corners."