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Key points from 5 Janauary meeting 2017
The overwhelming topic of concern for local people is the JCS (Joint Core Strategy to be agreed by Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Boroughs & Gloucester City) and which has now been 8 years in the making.
Cllr. Awford referred back to last October 25th when the packed public gallery at Tewkesbury Council witnessed there being enough councillor support for 400 acres of Twigworth to be withdrawn from an allocation of up to 1000 new houses over the next 15 years. Officers were charged to bring back a new housing strategy without the Twigworth allocation. This was the democratic result of local decision-makers yet it appears that no alternative has been prepared. With much of the depot at Ashchurch now likely to be retained by the military, Twigworth could just be allowed back in.
He believed that he spoke for all local people and stressed the following points
** It is crucial Twigworth stays out. It is constant high water-table ground and a vital “green sponge” for north Gloucester area. Otherwise downstream areas will suffer; drainage schemes are only as good as the outflow facilities and the river flow through Gloucester is problematic.
** The Government inspector had not, so far at least, ordered that Twigworth be built over to deliver the housing numbers only that it “should be considered”.
** Gloucester city still has urban, largely ‘brownfield’ capacity and to stress Twigworth’s Green Belt status may be the best chance to keep it untouched.
** It is council members who run councils; borough officers are not the drivers; they were given a mandate to find more sites, not appear to be boxing in those with contrary opinions.
** Over the next two weeks there will be a high-level JCS meeting and also for the TBC. He will address the latter and all the deliberations will receive his very close scrutiny.
** The next full Borough Council meeting -on January 31st- will be one of the utmost importance.