FORMER Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood today kept his promise to give evidence at the examination of the Joint Core Strategy in front of government inspector Elizabeth Ord
The inquiry opened today and will take months to examine every aspect of the development plan drawn up in a joint process by Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury councils. Most controversially the JCS plan suggests more than a thousand houses on the green fields at Leckhampton and thousands more north-west of Cheltenham immediately next to Swindon Village.
Martin challenged the JCS plan for ignoring important safeguards for green space built into the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
'Cheltenham needs its green spaces’ said Martin. ‘They provide space for free recreation, improve our mental and physical health, absorb pollution and allow for the local growing of food. They are one of the reasons people want to live and work here.’
‘'The Inspector is facing a roomful of big developers and their consultants, all trying to grab more and more green space for high cost market housing. They love to talk about the presumption in favour of development in the NPPF but ignore all the crucial safeguards for green spaces in the same government policy. The NPPF recognises the intrinsic value and beauty of the countryside and introduced the Local Green Space designation that I initiated to protect green spaces important to local people.'
‘We need the inspector to resist and leave us with a plan that provides more housing, especially affordable housing, but which also safeguards quality of life for future generations.'