Businesses across Gloucestershire must ensure their views are heard when the county’s Joint Core Strategy on development goes out to consultation later this year, according to one of the county’s leading experts on strategic land planning.

Scott Winnard, Partner at Bruton Knowles in Gloucester says that the whole economy of the county will be affected unless some development of the Green Belt is allowed around Cheltenham and Gloucester for housing.
It is vital that the housing blueprint, which shows that there is a need for 33,449 new homes to be built in the area in the next 20 years, is carried out if the area is to develop economically.
Scott Winnard said: “For too long growth in Gloucestershire has been stifled and it is starting to take its toll on businesses. We need a strong local economy with more employment and that depends on there being enough homes for people to live in.
“The reality is that Cheltenham is surrounded by the Green Belt or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Something has to give and the Green Belt should not be sacrosanct when the whole economic viability of the county is at stake.
“The only brownfield site available at the moment is the Ministry of Defence site at Ashchurch and there is a good case for saying that is more suitable for more employment land rather than housing. When the consultation takes place this Autumn it should not just be about asking people whether they want houses in a nearby field.
“Businesses need to make their voices heard and say what they need in terms of staff in the future. The people who will live in the new homes will be the employees of the future and the customers of the future for local businesses. It requires a co-ordinated approach where the attitude is to look for the most suitable sites rather than find reasons not to develop.
“The faster development happens the better for Gloucestershire,. Tewkesbury and Cheltenham are already behind on their five-year plan so there has to be an acceleration of development if targets are to be realistically met.”
Subject to agreement by the local authorities the Joint Core Strategy will then be subject to a six-week period of public consultation, between Tuesday 15th October and Monday 25th November 2013.

Bruton Knowles will be helping some local businesses and landowners to put together their views on the plans and are urging businesses to ensure that they participate in the process so that the local authority get a full picture of the views and needs of the count and to encourage growth and vitality.
Bruton Knowles is a national property consultancy with twelve offices across the UK in Gloucester, Birmingham, Bristol, Nottingham, Leeds, Shrewsbury, Northallerton, Cardiff, Guildford, Taunton, Manchester and London. Established over 150 years ago, Bruton Knowles is a multi-disciplinary consultancy offering clients a range of skills including building consultancy, compulsory purchase and compensation, estate strategy, agency and development consultancy, professional skills such as valuation, lease renewals, rent reviews and rating, as well as property management across the full spectrum of urban and rural property.

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Source: Empica