Passionate response expected to plans for thousands of new homes in Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Gloucester
COUNCIL chiefs are expecting a passionate response from the people of Cheltenham and Tewkesbury after they unveiled their controversial housing blueprint.
The sheer size of the housing developments and the extent to which they will be built on green belt land is likely to stir up strong feelings across the board.
And everyone will have the chance to have their say on the plans in the coming months.
Councillors at Cheltenham and Tewkesbury borough council and Gloucester City Council, the three authorities working on the Joint Core Strategy (JCS), will have to agree to its contents before it is sent out for consultation with the general public.
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All three councils are due to meet to discuss the plan at the start of September and, assuming the document is rubberstamped, a period of consultation will start on Tuesday, October 15.
However, should any one of the councils demand changes be made to the JCS, or even go so far as rejecting it entirely, this could delay the entire process because the other partner councils would have to sign off any amendments made.
Andrew North, chief executive of Cheltenham Borough Council, outlined the implications of any delays, even suggesting the joint working across the authorities could fall apart should the plan be rejected by any of them.
He said: "It would be a major setback if any of the councils rejected this consultation draft as it would, at least, cause unwelcome delay in adopting a plan and may put a strain on continuing joint planning across our three councils.
"Consequently we have done everything we can to inform and involve councillors so that they are clear about what is now proposed, the reasons and what the consequences might be of failing to progress our joint plan in a timely way."
If everything goes to plan and consultation does start in October, it will run for six weeks until Monday, November 25.
And members of the public are being encouraged to give their feedback on its contents.
People will be asked if they agree with the chosen strategy of extending the two main urban areas around Cheltenham and Gloucester and if they agree with the locations of the nine major new sites.
Should people disagree with any of the locations of the sites they will also have the opportunity to suggest alternatives and to provide reasons why another area might be more suitable for housing development.
You will be able to have your say when consultation is launched by visiting www.gct-jcs.org, where full details of the plans can be found and where comments can be made. The three authorities are hoping to have their housing plan completed and in place by the end of next year after handing it to the Government in autumn 2014.