I read on This is Gloucestershire this morning that Cheltenham has decided that the numbers of houses they should cater for is unappealing and that they should lop 10,000 off their 28k quota. This has not been agreed with the other members of the Joint Core Strategy, and even their own planning officers were urging caution. So when you consider Stroud wouldn’t take part, Cheltenham is now shirking its responsibilities and there is NIMBY fighting all over the place about where new houses should go, is the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) working for Gloucestershire? At the moment it looks like another “Localism” idea gone bad.
The Joint Core Strategy was the County response to the Government taking away the national guidelines and telling local areas just to get on with it. And it seems that this “getting on with it” is not really working, especially when you consider the Sellars Farm decision, and many of the local areas are spending a lot of time saying why they shouldn’t get the houses. Don’t get me wrong, it was not all sweetness and light under national direction, the national guidance on Parking is still having huge ramifications on places like Kingsway, but where I worry more is around issues like the Social Housing provision and Affordable housing. Also, as we have already seen, Localim works both ways (for developers as well as residents) and it seems that the say of residents doesn’t carry the same weight as a developer (again look at Sellars Farm).
This decision by Cheltenham, using potentially dodgy figures and without consulting the JCS partners just shows how belligerent people are getting about it and starting to hunker down in their own area bunkers!
So should we be worried. Quite frankly yes, it seems to be going the way of who shouts loudest wins, with a splash of teddy throwing. I only hope that common sense will prevail and the JCS can be put back on track. But how much effort is being put into keeping everyone sweet with the plan,. rather than executing it, and therefore just how much money is it saving?