Councils committed to working together to solve housing problems
HOPES are high that future housing plans are now safely back on track.
Council bosses from neighbouring authorities have spoken out in support of Cheltenham councillors who withdrew the controversial decisions they previously made.
The joint core strategy (JCS), the partnership document which will set a blueprint for housing in the area for the next two decades, was in danger of falling apart because of Cheltenham's actions in September.
They agreed last month to additional resolutions which had not been signed off by the two partner authorities, leading Tewkesbury and Gloucester to express concerns about working with Cheltenham.
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But at a meeting of the full council held at the Municipal Offices on Monday, members went back on their original decision.
Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, welcomed the change in tact and said the three authorities were now committed to moving forward together.
He said: "I certainly welcome the decisions that were taken and I have had a meeting with my opposite numbers in Tewkesbury and Cheltenham and we have had a full and frank discussion about the JCS and we have all agreed to move forward together.
"We all see the sense in that. Cheltenham's decision is a useful step in that process." Meanwhile, Tewkesbury Borough Council's chief executive Mike Dawson also welcomed the news.
He said: "We note Cheltenham Borough Council's decision to withdraw their additional recommendations.
"As agreed at a council meeting earlier this month, our members will consider a report on our options to achieve a sound core strategy in the shortest possible timescale, reflecting the duty to co-operate."
One of the contentious issues for Cheltenham's partners was focused on calculating housing size.
After agreeing to withdraw the controversial resolution about this subject, councillors opted in favour of referring the issue to a working group to chew over instead, with their conclusions being fed into the overall JCS process.
Speaking at the meeting Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for built environment, summed up the fears of many members.
He said Cheltenham had to work with its neighbours because the result of going it alone would be "awful" even in the "best case scenario".
He said: "We need to move forward. We are in danger of not seeing the wood for the trees. We absolutely need to work with the other councils.
"We cannot afford to not be part of this process. The alternative, even in the best case scenario, is awful."