Gloucestershire Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Gloucester and Cheltenham Green Belt

Friday, 19 August 2011 14:05

Gloucester and Cheltenham Green Belt Gloucester and Cheltenham Green Belt

The Gloucester and Cheltenham Green Belt plays a vital role in preventing the coalescence of Gloucester and Cheltenham but is under constant pressure for development. 

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has confirmed the Government’s commitment to retaining Green Belts and to strictly limiting any development within them.  It says that the fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; and that once established, Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in exceptional circumstances through the preparation or review of the Local Plan. Once defined, local planning authorities should plan positively to enhance the beneficial use of the Green Belt.

Development pressures on Gloucester and Cheltenham are such that urban extensions into the Green Belt are being proposed in the Joint Core Strategy for Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, the emerging planning blueprint for the area to 2031, also referred to as the JCS. 

CPRE Gloucestershire has contributed at five key stages in the preparation of the JCS:

  1. An issues and questions consultation in 2010
  2. Consultation on 'Developing the preferred option', which concluded in February 2012
  3. Consultation on the draft Strategy at the end of 2013
  4. Consultation on the Pre-Submission draft in 2014
  5. At the independent examination of draft Strategy which began in May 2015 and is still continuing

In our consultation responses we have argued that:

• the general extent of the current Green Belt should be broadly retained
• consideration should be given to extension to the north of Bishop’s Cleeve to provide further containment to the Cheltenham urban area, and to the south of Gloucester to safeguard the important strategic gap between Gloucester and Stonehouse
• removing land from the Green Belt for development should only be contemplated where it is clear that this would provide the most sustainable solution for accommodating future development requirements
• the following Strategic Objective should be included in the Core Strategy - To promote the positive management of the Green Belt to enhance its contribution to the landscape, biodiversity and access.

Losing any green belt land should always be a last resort and exceptional circumstances have to be demonstrated.  Reluctantly, we have concluded that some greenbelt release is justified as other development options to meet the housing needs of the area would be far more damaging.

CPRE Gloucestershire policy on the Cheltenham and Gloucester Green Belt

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