Issue - decisions
Cheltenham Plan - Adoption Report
The Leader of the Council introduced the report, noting that the Cheltenham Plan formed part of the Joint Core Strategy. He acknowledged that the Local Plan had been a long process, starting back in 2012, and thanked Members and officers involved for their contributions. The plan sought to strike a balance between providing jobs and affordable homes while protecting green spaces, and continuously consulting the public on its key aspects. He emphasised a number of key points, including the protection of green spaces by granting formal LGS status to 16 sites around the borough, and noted that the process of a second JCS was in its early stages.
The following points were raised by Members :
· the report was welcomed as an essential part of planning out the coming years and ensuring that the council did not stand still. Along with the JCS, it should give the town what it needs, particularly with regard to new houses built to a high standard and new employment.
· some Members had campaigned for some 40 years to protect the Leckhampton Green fields, and were delighted to see it formally designated as an LGS. Free, accessible recreation was a key part of mental health, especially in urban areas, while the fields also provide essential services to the ecosystem by absorbing pollution and floodwater. He thanked planning officers and the Leader of the Council for their work on the issue.
· one Member spoke in his capacity as the council’s representative on the Cotswold Conservation Board, and welcomed the level of protection afforded to the Cotswold AONB.
· a number of individuals and organisations were thanked for their work behind the scenes, but concern was expressed about future developers’ potential lack of understanding of sustainability. Sustainability must be considered according to a wide range of factors, including the socioeconomic consequences for people living in the area and environmental implications. If Cheltenham could put these considerations front and centre of any future interaction with developers, the town and its residents would benefit immensely.
· disappointment was expressed by one Member that the Oakhurst Rise site was not included among the 16 given LGS status, despite fulfilling many of the criteria involved.
· one Member acknowledged that this plan sought to strike a balance between preserving essential aspects of the town and allowing it to grow. He stressed that officers had sought to distribute LGS status as widely as possible, having considered 92 sites originally. Interventions from planning inspectors eventually whittled this figure down to 16. He reassured Members that the lack of LGS status did not mean that the site was not protected.
The Leader of the Council summed up the key points and thanked Members for their contributions.
1. the adoption version of the Cheltenham Plan at Appendix 4 to this report be adopted, as part of the Council’s statutory development plan
2. the amendments (maps and text) to the adopted Proposals Maps as set out within Appendix 5 and 6 to this report be adopted.
3. authority be delegated to the Director of Planning, in consultation with the Leader of the Council to make minor spelling, grammatical, cross-referencing or typographical errors and presentational changes (including the addition of a Foreword) to the Cheltenham Plan and accompanying policies maps prior to publication