Minister backs fast-track housing plan for Podsmead 'bomb site'
PLANS for a brownfield 'bomb site' in Gloucester are being held up as a national example for driving economic growth.
Government planning minister Nick Boles visited a 22-acre site of derelict land off Bristol Road last week, formerly home of Wellman Graham, St Gobain and Contract Chemicals, earmarked for a fast-track housing development.
He is now calling for councils to help further growth by renegotiating the terms of section 106 agreements with developers, the amount of cash paid out to community projects on completion of housing schemes.
"We are incredibly keen for brownfield sites like this to be brought forward as soon as possible for use for housing," said Mr Boles. "There is a desperate need for more housing, not just for Gloucester but the whole country.
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"There are lots of sites around the country that are held back by agreements put in place when property was booming for section 106 agreements that can't be supported by current values.
"We will be changing the law to make it easier for developers to renegotiate those agreements. Some councils are refusing to do that, but fortunately in Gloucester, the city council is renegotiating without being told to do so."
Conservative MP for Gloucester Richard Graham said: "This 22-acres has a huge amount of potential. This land has been sitting here for too long with nothing happening. We have owners who are keen to get going and there is a market for this. The council is now on the right track and if we can get the application in for the December planning meeting then it will be a very happy Christmas."