Crucial we join greenbelt debate
ONE of the most surprising aspects of the controversial plans for thousands of new homes in Gloucestershire is how many are actually already on their way.
Almost 19,000 of those 33,000-plus proposed for the county by 2031 are built and have, or are expected to get, planning permission.
On land near you? The chances are that you will know of these very developments and that they will go some way towards tackling the county's perceived housing shortage.
But what most of us did not know about until today is just where the other 14,000 homes would go. And it is a massive shock to discover many are destined for the greenbelt.
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Yes, that's right, the greenbelt. That area of land around Cheltenham and Gloucester that we all thought could not be built on. That's what greenbelt means. Isn't it?
What the three local councils are actually proposing is to redraw the boundaries so that space can be found for the homes.
One spin-off of such development will be more than 21,000 jobs. These are not short-term building jobs but jobs that will apparently be generated by the developments and the spin-offs from them.
Maybe so, but it's the greenbelt isn't it? Leave it alone.
The planners' argument is that the greenbelt exists locally for two main reasons – to maintain the physical separation of Gloucester and Cheltenham, and that of Cheltenham and Bishop's Cleeve.
They also stress that significant brownfield sites like the one at Ashchurch will also be used.
Shortly it will be time for the councillors to have their say and then, it will be your turn. Views will be deeply divided but it is crucial that you join the debate.
The county is about to change and we will need to help ensure the correct decisions are taken.
ANYONE from Cheltenham, Tewkesbury or elsewhere who has driven to Gloucester and come across Llanthony Bridge will have sympathy for David Newman.
It is difficult to know just what the rules are there. And we'll all be pleased that Mr Newman has won his appeal against a fine for crossing the bridge.
The signs still aren't clear and it must be rectified.