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Gloucester MP says 2,000 home development would be "a disaster"

Plans to build 2,000 homes on the edge of Gloucester have been labelled as a "disaster" by the city's MP.

Richard Graham has written to nearly 10,000 residents to voice his concerns over the development on the south of the city on land that falls under Stroud District Council control.

A letter has been sent to 9,800 residents of the Grange and Tuffley council wards about a proposed development on Grange Road on farmland in the Whaddon Parish.

Although the land in question is in Stroud District, Mr Graham said it would have a "huge impact on the infrastructure required in Gloucester and on traffic in particular."

The letter encourages local residents to sign a petition as a pre-emptive strike to Stroud District Council considering including the development in its local plan.

Mr Graham said that the current plan by Taylor Wimpey is virtually identical to the one that was lodged and then rejected around a decade ago.

He said: "We campaigned successfully against a very similar plan then by closing down in 2010 the unloved regional government structures John Prescott had created.

"This time enough support from residents will send a strong message to Stroud District Council that this is still a bad idea ten years on and that we would campaign strongly against it."

So far, the petition has gained support from local councillors and the online group Tuffley Matters.

Mr Graham said his objections aren't based on nimbyism but because he felt that the negatives of the development far outweighed the positives.

"I've helped focus minds and encouraged creative solutions on every bit of brownfield site I can find in Gloucester - from the Railway Triangle to the old Norville site in Tredworth," he said.

"There is still more to be done. As always, it's about a balance of responsibility to creating new homes for our children and making sure there is the right infrastructure to serve the new residents.

"There is just no way round Grange Road and the railway bridge one way and then Stroud Rd leading to St Barnabas. You can't build a relief road through Robinswood Hill.

"Gloucester City Council had approved building 250 more homes on its land at northern edge of Grange Road, and that will already stretch road capacity.

"Another 2,000 plus homes would be a disaster."

In response, a Stroud District Council spokesperson said:  "Under the current national planning system, where councils cannot meet their own housing needs because they don't have sufficient land to allocate, they can ask neighbouring councils to accommodate those needs using their land. 

"There is a legal duty placed upon councils to co-operate with each other and to help meet those needs where it is practical to do so and where it achieves sustainable development.

"The Joint Core Strategy (JCS) has identified that Gloucester City Council will be unable to accommodate all of its own future housing needs beyond 2028/29.

"Stroud District Council, which is not part of the JCS, was asked to consider land at Whaddon by the JCS Inspector because it was believed that Stroud has the potential to address Gloucester's future housing needs. 

"However, Stroud is also in the process of considering its own housing needs as part of its emerging local plan.

"Two studies have now been commissioned by all of the Gloucestershire authorities that will help to determine whether the land will in fact be needed.

"The results of these studies, together with the results of previous public consultation and other technical evidence will be considered before deciding the content of the draft Stroud District Local Plan Review document, at a meeting of the Environment Committee on 24 October 2019.

"Public consultation on the draft Local Plan will run from November 2019 until January 2020, with further opportunities for consultation during the public examination, before it is adopted, hopefully by 2022."

Councillor Simon Pickering, Chair of SDC's Environment Committee added: "As a council we'd prefer not to allocate land in our district that won't count against our own housing numbers. 

"If Richard Graham has identified suitable land for the 2,000 extra houses that his government wants to be built in Gloucester, or somewhere else in the Joint Core Strategy area, then I am sure Stroud District Council will be more than happy to remove this from our emerging local plan. "

Any Gloucester residents who would like to sign Richard's petition are encouraged to do so via his website by September 15 by clicking here.

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