The public hearing of the Cheltenham Plan took place between 13th and 28th February 2019 following the submission of the Plan and its supporting documents to the Secretary of State for independent inspection.
The Localism Act and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) brought about changes to the planning system, including the requirement for local councils to produce a ‘Local Plan’ for its area.
The ‘Local Plan’ should not only show a presumption in favour of development, but clear policy guidance on how the presumption should be applied.
Currently, planning policies for Cheltenham are contained in the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) and the Cheltenham Borough Local Plan Second Review.
The PAB Group was particularly interested in Day 4 of the Hearing when Green Belt and green infrastructure was examined.
We have a long-lasting interest in the well-being and protection of the Green Belt in Prestbury, Up Hatherley and Leckhampton, as well as the Green Belt land that makes up the Gloucestershire Airport. (See other archives).
As readers may gather, the Hearing on Day 4 was swarming with developers and their associates, all trying to find ways and means of changing the main body of the JCS and particularly the Green Belt.
The fact that only 13% of the England land mass is Green Belt, and steadily diminishing, is of little consequence to developers and those who seem to have no interest in protecting our countryside.
The good news is that the Green Belt remains intact, and the policies that were included in the Joint Core Strategy and adopted by all three councils (Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Gloucester City) in December 2017 remain intact. And when the new Local Plan is approved, the council will be able to address new non-strategic policies concerning the local infrastructure and other policies that are relevant to Cheltenham.