Prestbury councillors question handling of Joint Core Strategy
PARISH councillors have hit out at their Cheltenham Borough Council colleagues over the handling of the area's housing crisis.
Prestbury representatives attended a special meeting held at the Municipal Offices last month when Cheltenham discussed how many homes will have to be built in the next 20 years.
Speaking at a meeting of Prestbury parish council on Monday evening Councillor Richard Fuller described the Joint Core Strategy debate as 'an absolute disgrace'.
He said: "There were a large number of councillors in there who didn't know what the meeting was about. It seemed like they had never read the document.
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"When it came to the voting a lot of members didn't vote, they just abstained.
"None of them took any notice of the document. It was a complete waste of time.
That meeting was unbelievable. It was an absolute disgrace."
Parish councillor John Payne agreed.
He said: "It was the first meeting I had attended and I thought I would attend because of its importance and its importance to Prestbury.
"I thought there would be some indifference but I found it to be quite appalling."
Borough councillors agreed to a set of 10 resolutions, three of which had not been agreed with partners Tewkesbury Borough Council and Gloucester City Council, at the special housing meeting on September 24.
One of them states officers should investigate the suggestion that using a different set of data and methodology would result in a projected housing need of just 18,600 homes.
But council officers have said the 18,600 homes figure is 'methodologically unsound' and could be the 'coup de grace' which leads Cheltenham's partners to say goodbye, leaving the borough to deal with its housing woes on its own.
Speaking at the parish council meeting, Councillor Malcolm Stennett (Prestbury, PAB), said the additional motions which were passed by the Liberal Democrats in September were not 'substantiated by any particular body'.
He said: "This was done by little groups. It may be right, I don't know, but the likelihood of the government accepting it when they formally bless the Joint Core Strategy is probably pretty remote."
Borough councillors will consider the future of the Joint Core strategy on Monday.