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Joint Core Strategy Issues and Key Questions

6. Topic Based Policy Areas

6.1. This section of the document introduces the topic areas that the Joint Core Strategy may need to address. Topic based policies are intended to apply across the Joint Core Strategy area. For each topic there is a brief description of the policy context at a national and regional level and an explanantion of how this translates locally. This is followed by an outline of what needs to be considered within that policy area and a set of potential outcomes. Each section concludes by asking for your views on how the policy area could be tackled.

6.2. Your views are also sought on whether these are the right topics to focus on in the Joint Core Strategy. Please respond if you think there are additional topics that the Joint Core Strategy should cover.

Affordable Housing

National Policy Context

6.3. The following national planning policy documents need to be considered in developing this policy area:-

  • Planning Policy Statement 1: Planning Sustainable Development
  • Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing
What is the implication of National Policy on this topic area?

6.4. Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing states that everyone should have the opportunity of living in a decent home, which they can afford, in a community where they want to live. As part of this, the Government is committed to providing high quality housing for people who are unable to access or afford market housing as well as making the step from affordable housing into home ownership. Planning Policy Statement 3 also states that Regional Spatial Strategies should set out the regional approach to addressing affordable housing needs, including an affordable housing target for the region. 

Regional Planning Context
  • CSS: The Core Spatial Strategy
  • H1: Housing Affordability
Local issues affecting this policy area

6.5. The following Key Issues (see Spatial Portrait and Issues) and Strategic Objectives (see Vision and Objectives) are particularly relevant to this policy area.

Key Issues: 2 / 4

Strategic Objectives: 3

 

Commentary

6.6. The Gloucester and Cheltenham sub-region has been identified as a Housing Market Area which broadly covers the whole of Gloucestershire.  Within this, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Borough have been identified as a housing sub-market area that contains approximately 132,000 households.  Within the Joint Core Strategy area there are a number of different issues regarding housing and provision, however, affordability is an increasing problem across the entire area and there is demand for more affordable housing of all sizes.  Both Cheltenham and Gloucester are also known to experience high levels of overcrowding, which can be a sign of lack of larger affordable units. 

6.7. Planning Policy Statement 3 requires local authorities to set out an affordable housing target. The Joint Core Strategy will need to be consider what that target should be and how affordable housing could be delivered. The Joint Core Strategy will have to balance the the need to create mixed and balanced communities with the economic viability of securing affordable housing through private sector development.

6.8. Evidence to determine the level of affordable housing required across the Joint Core Strategy area is provided by the Gloucestershire Housing Market Assessment which has been subject to a viability assessment. The Housing Market Assessment and viability assessment are currently being updated and will inform the development of the emerging affordable housing policy. 

6.9. The majority of affordable housing will be delivered as part of mixed open market development across the Joint Core Strategy area, although 'exception sites' may be used to provide purely affordable housing development in locations where housing would normally not be permitted.  In such instances exceptions can be made due to the community benefit of the affordable housing. Most exception sites are likely to be in the rural areas of Tewkesbury Borough adjacent to an existing settlement or within the smaller rural settlements themselves. It is possible therefore to consider an option for delivering affordable housing through exceptions sites within the Joint Core Strategy.

6.10. The Joint Core Strategy will need to decide what is the minimum number of houses a site should provide for affordable housing to be required and the percentage of affordable housing such sites should deliver. Any policy that is developed will need to be subject to viability advice to make sure it can be implemented. 

6.11. This consultation seeks to gain your views on the potential ways the Joint Core Strategy could ensure that sufficient affordable housing is provided.

Provision of Affordable Housing
Things to consider Outcome
1. Adopt the Draft Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West requirement of 35% as a minimum. This is the draft RSS reqirement and should be the minimum sought in the Joint Core Strategy area.
2. The Joint Core Strategy could set a target of 40% or higher across the whole area. Higher affordable housing requirements have the potential to provide more affordable housing where viable. A percentage higher than 40% may not be viable, especially on some brownfield sites.  Higher targets also may reduce the contributions sought for infrastructure provision.

3. The Joint Core Strategy could set different percentage targets for greenfield and brownfield sites.

This would allow a flexible approach to providing affordable housing that considers the viability of bringing forward different land types.

4. The Joint Core Strategy could set specific targets for specific sites as well as an area wide target. This would allow higher provision to be provided on sites where it was deemed viable as part of the development plan process.

What approach to securing affordable housing should be adopted in the Joint Core Strategy?

Should all sites contribute to affordable housing or should a threshold be introduced? If so, what should that threshold be?

What should the threshold be for the provision of affordable housing in rural areas?

Sustainability Impact

6.12. You may want to consider the following Sustainability Objectives (See http://www.gct-jcs.org/SustainabilityAppraisal/Home.aspx) when responding to questions on this policy area: 12 and 15

Sustainable Buildings

National Policy Context

6.13. The following documents need to be considered in developing this policy area:-

  • Planning Policy Statement 1: Planning Sustainable Development
  • Supplement to Planning Policy Statement 1: Climate Change
  • Planning Policy Statement 25: Flood Risk
  • The Code for Sustainable Homes
  • Climate Change Bill
Regional Planning Context
  • RE5 - Development Policy G
Local issues affecting this policy area

6.14. The following Key Issues (see Spatial Portrait and Issues) and Strategic Objectives (see Vision and Objectives) are particularly relevant to this policy area.

Key Issues: 3

Strategic Objectives: 1

Commentary

6.15. Approximately half of the carbon emissions in the UK are due to buildings. If transport between them is considered, then it is not difficult to see that development can have a significant impact on climate change. Buildings can be designed to waste less energy or even create their own energy. They can also be designed in such a way that they are resilient to climate change in terms of increased temperatures and weather events. 

6.16. For many years Building Regulations have provided a basis for standards with regard to the efficiency of buildings in terms of energy use, insulation and water usage. In an attempt to improve on this, and increase performance across a range of sustainability measures, the Government recently introduced the Code for Sustainable Homes. This not only looks at thermal performance but has high standards for the use of water, recycled materials and other sustainability criteria. Buildings are rated on scale of 1 to 6 where Code 1 is broadly the standard of existing Building Regulations and code 6 is very sustainable zero carbon.

6.17. The Code is currently being rolled out, with standards expected to increase over the next 7 years. While currently Code level 3 is only compulsory for all social housing, this will change as building regulations are upgraded to accommodate the new standards. 

6.18. The existing Buildings Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) Standards is one way of measuring the build quality of buildings, however, in terms of energy, through the Building Regulations commercial builders will need to achieve higher standards.  They will be expected to be 25 per cent more efficient by April 2010 and zero carbon by 2019.

6.19. This timetable is ambitious and it will propel the UK from a poorly performing nation, in terms of sustainable construction to somewhere near the top. There is still room, however, for flexibility and it needs to be clear as to whether or not there should be negotiation regarding certain aspects of the Code. For example: if in a particular area water availability is not a problem, are such tight restrictions on water usage needed?

6.20. In addition to the above, local authorities are being encouraged to adopt 'Merton style' rules, where a certain percentage of the building's energy is generated through renewable or low carbon means. A floor of 10% is being set by the Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West - Secretary of State's Proposed Changes for large scale development. Any increase from this will have to be justified. Your views on this issue are sought in the Renewable Energy section of this consultation document.

6.21. Sustainable buildings are about more than just achieving the Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM standards, they must also contribute to a high quality of life and feeling of well-being. While some of these are part of regulations others are not. Adaptation to climate change is also increasingly important and there is an expectation that development will need to be more resilient to freak weather events and be capable of keeping cool during more intense heat waves in the future.

6.22. The Joint Core Strategy will need to address how all these aspects of sustainability are incorporated into new buildings. It should not, however, just duplicate national policy but adapt it to meet local requirements and the local market. There is also a balance to be achieved in adopting standards between the requirement for energy efficient buildings and the need to secure other infrastructure contributions from development and ensuring that schemes remain viable.

6.23. This consultation seeks your views on how the Joint Core Strategy can deliver sustainable buildings and what standards it should be seeking to achieve.

Things to Consider

Outcome

The Joint Core Strategy could rely on national building standards.

This would result in buildings that are more energy efficient then those constructed historically.  Viability is less of an issue as this requirement would be aligned to national regulations.

The Joint Core Strategy could pursue local variations depending upon market conditions and sustainable needs on specific sites.

While leading to varying levels of sustainability it will mean that sites can come forward and be built to local sustainable needs.  This may have an impact upon scheme viability and contributions sought for other things such as infrastructure and affordable housing.

The Joint Core Strategy could pursue a more rapid timetable for the adoption of standards.

This would require developers to accept a shorter timetable for adoption of the Code or that certain aspects or the Code/BREEAM were to be accelerated. Viability would need to be considered to ensure that it was not excessively burdening the development industry.

Bring forward additional requirements not included within the Code/BREEAM assessment relating to the buildings environments.

The code does not cover all aspects of sustainability. This could, for example, requires significant measures in terms of adaptation to climate change, such as green roofs and significant tree planting. This would introduce a range of other climate change adaption measures but may affect scheme viability and contributions sought for other things such as infrastructure and affordable homes.


What approach should the Joint Core Strategy take to deliver sustainable buildings?

Sustainability Impact

6.24. You may want to consider the following Sustainability Objectives (See http://www.gct-jcs.org/SustainabilityAppraisal/Home.aspx) when responding to questions on this policy area: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 16

Renewable Energy

National Policy Context

6.25. The following documents need to be considered in developing this policy area:- 

  • Planning Policy Statement 1: Planning Sustainable Development
  • Supplement to Planning Policy Statement 1: Climate Change
  • Planning Policy Statement 22: Renewable Energy
  • The Code for Sustainable Homes
  • Climate Change Bill
Regional Planning Context
  • RE1 - Renewable Energy Targets
  • RE5 - Renewable Energy and New Development
Local issues affecting this policy area

6.26. The following Key Issues (see Spatial Portrait and Issues) and Strategic Objectives (see Vision and Objectives) are particularly relevant to this policy area.

Key Issues: 3

Strategic Objectives: 1 

Commentary

6.27. Climate change and energy security will be two of the main issues to impact upon the Joint Core Strategy area in the coming years. The Climate Change Bill makes clear the threats from Climate Change and the sort of response that is needed. Currently the Joint Core Strategy area is generally dependant largely on imported fossil fuels to provide its energy. Not only is this unsustainable but results in significant leakage of capital out of the area impacting upon the local economy.

6.28. At present very little renewable energy is generated in the Joint Core Strategy area, the notable exceptions being the landfill gas sites at Hempsted and Wingmore Farm, together these provide 6.75 Mega Watts of Energy. There are smaller facilities such as the biogas at Netheridge and heat is now generated from wood chip at a number of sites the largest being the facility at the National Star College, Cheltenham. On the positive side many small-scale photovoltaic roofs, solar hot water, ground source heat pumps and wind turbines have now been installed promoted by generous national and local grants.

6.29. Government and Regional Policy are geared very much to encouraging renewable energy with very ambitious targets being agreed. For example, in the South West the target is 509 - 611 MW by 2010 of which Gloucestershire is expected to supply 40 - 50 MW. This requirement is not split by district but it is clear that the county is nowhere near hitting this. The 2020 target is for 850 MW. Nationally as part of a 20% European Union-wide target we have a legally binding target for 15% of our energy to come from renewables by 2020, a 7-fold increase in just 10 years.

6.30. The Joint Core Strategy area has the potential to use significant renewable resources. Not only in terms of wind power but also in low head hydroelectric (the river Severn could produce significant energy if the existing weirs were exploited) and biomass. On a smaller scale woodchip can provide heat for buildings and the use of solar hot water, photovoltaics and ground source heat pumps are becoming more common place. Although the Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West -Secretary of State's Proposed Changes requires on site renewables as part of development, a more positive approach could be promoted in the Joint Core Strategy.

6.31. The challenge for the Joint Core Strategy is to facilitate the development required to achieve these much needed targets in a manner that ensures the most appropriate sites are exploited taking into account competing interests, such as environmental protection and viability.

6.32. While the proposed Infrastructure Commission will deliberate on large-scale schemes, the vast majority of the proposals that come forward will be determined by the District Authorities (or the County in relation to some waste related development). It will be important therefore that the Joint Core Strategy sets out a strategic approach for renewables to guide development in the wider public interest.

6.33. This consultation seeks your views on how renewable energy could be achieved across the Joint Core Strategy area and what targets, if any, it should set.

Things to consider

Outcome

The Joint Core Strategy could seek to exceed UK and South West targets by adopting a very proactive policy.

This may require an open market approach to the provision of renewable energy. Invariably the windiest sites are likely to be exploited. New weirs may have to be constructed across the Severn. Energy from waste would be promoted.

The Joint Core Strategy could adopt a measured proactive approach by identifying areas where renewable energy might be appropriate.

This would identify the most appropriate areas of search, not only for windpower, but also low head hydroelectricity schemes and other renewables. This would provide certainty for developers and the community alike. On its own, this approach may not be enough to achieve national and regional targets.

The Joint Core Strategy could adopt a business as usual approach.

This essentially means continuing the very constraining approach to renewable energy production that exists today. This may lead to planning by appeal as developers understand national policy will over-ride local objection. This could result in the most economic sites being exploited as developers will focus resources where returns are greatest.


What approach should the Joint Core Strategy take to renewable energy?

Sustainability Impact

6.34. You may want to consider the following Sustainability Objectives (See http://www.gct-jcs.org/SustainabilityAppraisal/Home.aspx) when responding to questions on this policy area: 2, 3 and 6

Flooding

National Policy Context

6.35. The following documents need to be considered in developing this policy area:- 

  • Planning Policy Statement 1: Planning Sustainable Development
  • Supplement to Planning Policy Statement 1: Climate Change
  • Planning Policy Statement 25: Flood Risk
  • The Pitt Report
  • The Draft Water and Flood Bill
Regional Planning Context
  • F1 - Flood Risk
Local issues affecting this policy area

6.36. The following Key Issues (see Spatial Portrait and Issues) and Strategic Objectives (see Vision and Objectives) are particularly relevant to this policy area.

Key Issues: 3 / 11

Strategic Objectives: 1 / 2

Commentary

6.37. June and July 2007 saw significant flooding across the Joint Core Strategy area. The flood event saw significant surface water flooding and small streams overflowing their channels, often into homes and businesses. This was followed a few days later by the Severn over-topping its defences to cause even more flooding, primarily in Tewkesbury. The situation was worsened by stresses on critical infrastructure such as the Mythe Water works at Tewkesbury and the Electricity Substations at Castlemeads and Walham. For those who experienced the flooding first hand, this is clearly one of the key issues facing the Joint Core Strategy area.

6.38. Lesser floods at the turn of the 20th Century resulted in an update of national planning guidance and Planning Policy Statement 25: Flooding was published in 2006. This gave a clear policy direction for planning authorities and is still the basis on which flood related issues are determined today. Inappropriate development is not allowed on the flood plain. Indeed, the vast majority of dwellings subject to flooding in 2007 were built at a time when these events were not as common as they are today.

6.39. The challenge now is to determine exactly where flooding could occur, as it will vary depending on the type of flood. Surface water flooding is harder to predict as it can be caused by the failure of a culvert or rubbish and debris, such as a discarded mattress, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

6.40. To try to understand which land is more vulnerable to flooding, Level 1 and Level 2 Strategic Flood Risk Assessments have been commissioned. The Level 1 report has already been published and is being used to inform the Joint Core Strategy, while the second, looking at specific vulnerable areas, is being undertaken. These will provide more detail of where flooding is likely to occur.

6.41. The assessments will also include a climate change model as it is understood that extreme weather events will become more frequent and intense as the planet slowly warms up. Sea level rise may also have an impact as ice sheets and glaciers melt, expanding the oceans and causing higher tides.

6.42. With regard to surface water, a Surface Water Management Plan has been commissioned for some parts of the area. This will also provide more information as to which areas are more vulnerable to surface water flooding and should help plan for future developments.

6.43. Once all these areas are mapped it will be possible to apply policy with more certainty and rigour and ensure that events like the past are minimised.

6.44. There is a need to ensure that areas that have in the past been vulnerable become less so. Occasionally this may require new defences, however, it may be better to increase capacity elsewhere or, in the case of the Severn at Gloucester, increase flow out into the Estuary. Development may have a role in funding managed retreat opportunities along the Severn or by constructing basins upstream of problem rivers and brooks.

6.45. Equally important is how development deals with its own surface water. When a field, garden or other green space is developed, surface water that would have soaked into the ground is intercepted by roofs and other hard surfaces and finds its way more rapidly into drains or watercourses. This has to be managed so it does not lead to streams and sewers being over burdened. For a number of years large developments have achieved this through balancing ponds and underground storage tanks. These fill up in times of flood and then drain down slowly in a similar way to a green field. There is a move locally and by government to ensure that all development deals with its own water as near to source as possible and in a sustainable manner. This is called Sustainable Urban Drainage and is expected to become standard practice over the years to come. It should be noted that different techniques are used depending on the type of soil in an area. On clay soils this is largely centred around storage.

6.46. This consultation is seeking your views on how the Joint Core Strategy should deal with flood risk and its causes.

Things to consider

Outcome

The Joint Core Strategy could adopt a business as usual approach and rely on national policy.

This carries on using Planning Policy Statement 25 and any successor as the basis for planning decisions where flooding is a concern. While considered to be adequate, the Joint Core Strategy could move beyond this

The Joint Core Strategy could adopt a more precautionary approach to flood risk.

This could involve re-classifying the type of building appropriate within a certain flood zone. For example, at the moment Planning Policy Statement 25 classifies shops and restaurants as 'Less vulnerable' and, therefore, potentially acceptable in the 1 in 100 flood zone (3a). These uses could be moved into the 'More vulnerable' category. Alternatively the flood zones could be extended by 10 metres. This would ensure a "belt and braces" approach.



What approach should the Joint Core Strategy take to Flood Prevention? 
Sustainability Impact

6.47. You may want to consider the following Sustainability Objectives (See http://www.gct-jcs.org/SustainabilityAppraisal/Home.aspx) when responding to questions on this policy area: 3, 4 and 5

Employment

National Policy Context
  • Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development
  • Planning Policy Statement 4 (draft consultation document)
Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West - Proposed Changes
  • CSS - The Core Spatial Strategy
  • Development Policy A - Development at Strategically Significant Cities and Towns
  • Development Policy B - Development at Market and Coastal Towns
  • Development Policy C - Development at Small Towns and Villages
  • HMA 3 - Gloucester and Cheltenham Housing Market Assessment
  • RTS6 - Airports and Heliports
  • ES1 - Sustainable Economic Prosperity
  • ES2 - Providing for Employment Land and Premises
  • ES3 - Review of Employment Sites
  • TO1 - Sustainable Tourism
  • TO2 - Safeguarding and Investing in Tourism Destinations
  • TO3 - Major New Tourism Facilities
  • ADD1 - Priorities for Addressing Deprivation and Disadvantage
Regional Economic Strategy for the South West 2006-2015
Gloucestershire Integrated Economic Strategy 2009 - 2015

Key Issues: 2 / 3 / 4 / 6 / 7 / 10 / 11 / 13

Strategic Objectives: 5 / 6 / 12

Commentary

6.48. The recession has generated considerable uncertainty in relation to the economy of the Joint Core Strategy area. A key question for the Joint Core Strategy is what kind of land and premises are needed for the future.

6.49. The Integrated Economic Strategy for Gloucestershire has been recently published by Gloucestershire First on behalf of its partners. Employment priorities in the emerging delivery plans will form part of the evidence base for the Joint Core Strategy.

6.50. In establishing an approach for the Joint Core Strategy area it is necessary to balance the needs of the urban areas and those of the rural areas, where an emphasis for possible economic development may be tourism, in addition to wider economic growth objectives. Strengthening and developing the tourism sector in both rural and urban locations. This is particularly important to ensure that the rural economy does not become unduly dependent upon lower paid and potentially seasonal opportunities.

6.51. A further key balance to be addressed within the Joint Core Strategy area is the extent to which new residents are to be encouraged into the area in order to improve its economic performance, as against the extent to which the skills of existing residents are to be developed in order to allow them to attract and take up developing employment opportunities.   

6.52. This consultation seeks your views on how the Joint Core Strategy may address employment and economic activity.

Things to consider

Outcome

The Joint Core Strategy could endorse a centralised and specialised economy, with an emphasis in rural areas for services to meet local need and tourism.

The key hub of Cheltenham and Gloucester would experience the majority of employment growth.

The Joint Core Strategy could make land available to meet the needs of key sectors at and adjacent to Cheltenham and Gloucester, with more limited land allocations for employment uses in more rural areas.

Development of economic specialism(s) could be associated with the development of key economic 'clusters', creating a significant contribution to economic growth.

The approach risks a less dynamic rural economy, and initiatives relating to the development of land. Premises would have to be coordinated with interventions, such as skills development, in order to ensure that local economies did not become polarised (depending upon the specialisms in question).

The Joint Core Strategy could endorse a continuation of a dispersed and diverse economy, including flexible allocations and a greater variety of employment in rural areas.  

A greater proportion of economic growth would be experienced in the rural areas, but potentially to the detriment of environmental sustainability objectives

The Joint Core Strategy could endorse a specialist economy, with high emphasis on meeting the employment needs of the existing population. Specialisms are chosen on the basis of the potential of the existing population for participation, including through measures such as skill development

Existing residents may be able to derive greater benefit from economic growth, but if skills-development and other interventions are not successful then development of specialisms through inward investment may be hampered.

The Joint Core Strategy could endorse a specialist economy, with a high emphasis upon attracting people with the associated skills needed to develop the selected specialisms.

A greater degree of prosperity may be achieved, but this approach would have to be carefully coordinated with other policy areas in order to ensure that existing residents benefit.

The Joint Core Strategy could allow employment uses to locate where the market dictates, subject to basic criteria, such as protection of the environment. Allowing the market to dictate the location of employment land could lead to an uneven distribution of employment growth across the JCS area and pressure on the greenfield sites. An approach responsive to the needs of employers and may encourage specialist employment.
Should employment uses be allowed to locate wherever they like subject to base criteria such as protection of the environment. Possible uneven distribution of employment growth across the JCS area and pressure on the greenfield sites. An approach responsive to the needs of employers and may encourage specialist employment.

 

What approach should the Joint Core Strategy take to secure better economic growth?

Sustainability Impact

6.53. You may want to consider the following Sustainability Objectives (See http://www.gct-jcs.org/SustainabilityAppraisal/Home.aspx) when responding to questions on this policy area: 10, 11, 12, 17 and 18

City and Town Centres

National Policy Context
  • Planning Policy Statement 1: Planning Sustainable Development
  • Planning and Climate Change - Supplement to Planning Policy Statement 1
  • Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing
  • Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres
  • Draft Planning Policy Statement 4: Planning for Sustainable Economic Development
Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West - Proposed Changes
  • CSS: The Core Spatial Strategy
  • Development Policy A: Development at Strategically Significant Cities and Towns
  • TC1: City and Town Centres
  • C1: Regional and Sub-regional Cultural Infrastructure
  • TO1: Sustainable Tourism
  • TO2: Safeguarding and Investing in Tourism Destinations
  • T3: Major New Tourism Facilities
Key Issues: 7 / 8 / 12

Strategic Objectives: 3 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 10 / 12 / 13

Commentary

6.54. Gloucester and Cheltenham town centres are of regional significance, both providing for a range of town centre uses including retail, leisure and entertainment, tourism, employment and housing.

6.55. In terms of retail and leisure, the two centres have traditionally differed quite considerably.  Cheltenham for example, is the South West's second most influential retail centre behind Bristol, and has a retail offer, catchment and expenditure far greater than that which would normally be expected of a town of its size.  Cheltenham attracts shopping visitors from a significant distance, and more recently shopping weekends involving an overnight stay have become popular.  Cheltenham is also renowned for having a very good evening and night-time economy, with a choice of restaurants and bars, and cultural facilities such as the Everyman Theatre and Town Hall.

6.56. In both retail and leisure terms, Gloucester plays a more localised role, having less retail and leisure on offer than would normally be expected of a city of its size.  The evening economy in Gloucester is currently rather limiting, lacking a variety of different activities and venues to cater for a cross-section of tastes and lifestyles.  In terms of tourism, Gloucester attracts a significant number of day-time visitors, but struggles to attract overnight tourism visitors.  This is currently very little hotel accommodation in the city centre, particularly of higher quality.

6.57. That said, the opening of Phase 1 of the Gloucester Quays Designer Outlet Centre has provided an important addition to the retail and leisure offer in the city, and is proving to be a big success in attracting visitors from near and far.

6.58. Looking forward, it is important that the role of Cheltenham town centre as one of the south west's principal retail destinations in the South West is maintained.  There is considerable scope to improve the retail, leisure and cultural offer in Gloucester, making the best of its unique assets.  It will also be important to ensure a complementary function is developed between the city centre and Gloucester Quays.

6.59. In both centres,the ongoing regeneration iniatives through Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company (GHURC) and Civic Pride will have a positive impact in terms of creating more attractive environments and expanding the range of town centre uses. 

6.60. A regeneration scheme will be drawn up in the future for Tewkesbury town centre to deal with redundant buildings and open spaces and to ensure the viability and diversity of the town centre.

Things to consider Outcome
The Joint Core Strategy could concentrate on Regeneration Sites Only. Town Centre sites that are located within regeneration areas (GHURC and Civic Pride) would be prioritised for the development of town centre uses.  

This would result in a concentrated town centre though it could restrict some uses from locating in the centre, for example through a lack of available sites. 

The Joint Core Strategy could allow for the expansion of Town Centres. Town Centre sites that are located within regeneration areas (GHURC and Civic Pride) would be prioritised for the development of town centre uses, but extension(s) to the centre would be identified.  Town Centre sites that are located within regeneration areas (GHURC and Civic Pride) would be prioritised for the development of town centre uses, but extension(s) to the centre would be identified.  This could provide more flexibility and choice within the centre.

Should town centres be expanded or should the focus be on regenerating existing town centre sites?

If you think town centres should be expanded, where do you think would be the most appropriate location?

What should the future roles and relationship be between Gloucester City and Cheltenham?
Sustainability Impact

6.61. You may want to consider the following Sustainability Objectives (See http://www.gct-jcs.org/SustainabilityAppraisal/Home.aspx) when responding to questions on this policy area: 7, 8, 10, 11 and 18

Green Infrastructure

National Policy Context

  • Planning Policy Statement 1 Delivering Sustainable Development
  • Planning Policy Statement 9 Biodiversity and geological conservation.
  • Planning Policy Guidance 17 Planning for open space, sport and recreation
  • Natural England Green Infrastructure Guidance
Regional Policy Context
  • Regional Spatial Strategy GI1 ENV1 ENV4
Key Issues: 1

Strategic Objectives: 1 / 2 / 4 / 10 / 12

Commentary

6.62. The landscape of the Joint Core Strategy area has been formed by the interaction of the rivers Severn and Avon on the underlying geology, the resulting habitat types and settlement patterns reflect these processes. The softer lias clay typically being eroded away, creating the Severn and Avon Vales with the harder and porous limestone rising up forming a steep scarp to the east of the Joint Core Strategy area. Dotted around the Vale are the outliers of the escarpment, such as Robinswood and Chosen Hills, and the smaller river terrace hillocks, such as Hempsted and Lassington Hill.

6.63. Significant protection is already afforded to many of the habitats and landscapes within the Joint Core Strategy area through a myriad of local and national designations. Planning has typically protected these assets, while a more proactive approach to land use management has been delivered, in a somewhat random manner, with perhaps the exception of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This is actively managed through co-operation of landowners and the Cotswold Conservation Board.

6.64. There are also a number of key locations within the Joint Core Strategy area that have a significant influence on the wider landscape, such as Cheltenham Racecourse, that provides a significant national tourist attraction as well as partly defining the local landscape.

6.65. While Planning has in the past addressed the needs of physical infrastructure ensuring roads, sewers and electricity can be adequately provided for green infrastructure has not been planned for in a co-ordinated manner.  Although local authorities are familiar with negotiating Public Open Space on large developments, and ensuring precious assets are protected, what has been lacking is the need to connect these up in an integrated manner and ensuring they relate to, and are part of the wider countryside.

6.66. It could be for example, that everyone in new development is able to walk out of their dwelling and into an open green area within a couple of minutes. This green area would then connect with more multifunctional space and ultimately into the wider countryside. Ideally, like the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty this countryside should be subject to a management plan and be looked after for the benefit of access, wildlife and landscape.

6.67. Not only will this provide a green living space for new and existing residents but should go a long way to increasing the connectivity and resilience of existing habitats, especially in the light of climate change that will force species to migrate out of their current range.

6.68. A useful definition for green infrastructure is given in the Regional Spatial Strategy. It states that green infrastructure 'consists of strategic networks of accessible multifunctional sites (including parks woodland, informal open spaces, nature reserves and historic sites), as well as linkages (such as river corridors and greenways). These contribute to people's well-being and together comprise a coherent managed resource, responsive to evolving conditions'

6.69. In the Joint Core Strategy area there is a need to look at how development can deliver its own green infrastructure, as well understanding the strategic dimension. For this it is assumed that towards the east of the area the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty provides this strategic green infrastructure function admirably. The main challenge here is ensuring new and existing development is properly 'plugged into' it.

6.70. For the west of the area the Joint Core Strategy authorities are considering the idea of a strategic green infrastructure asset broadly correlating with the washlands of the River Severn and the tributaries that flow into it. To give the area an identity and a feeling of permanence this could be called a Regional Park, Severn Park or similar.

6.71. This would complement the work being done by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust in their Living Landscapes project, the Strategic Infrastructure process being undertaken by the County and other work to develop the area for tourism and land based economic development.

Things to consider

Outcome

The Joint Core Strategy could concentrate effort within development

On large developments all green infrastructure (Public Open Space allotments Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems etc) are negotiated in an integrated manner. Existing assets are protected and linked by Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems features and other green links. No-one is more than a couple of minutes walk/cycle from the green infrastructure network

The Joint Core Strategy to identify a strategic green infrastructure network. Development will need to relate to this and potentially fund improvements to it.

Strategic green infrastructure is identified (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the east, Severn (Regional) Park in the West). River corridors connecting new development to these will be identified.

The Joint Core Strategy to identify existing green infrastructure in urban areas.

Existing green infrastructure (public open spaces, allotments etc.) are mapped and assessed. Pinch points and connectivity problems are identified and a schedule drawn up for improvement, funded through development.

The Joint Core Strategy promotes a business as usual scenario.

Open space is negotiated on a site-by-site basis. Areas of ecological/geological/archaeological interest are protected and often form part of the adopted open space.  Allotments, Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems infrastructure are provided for on a fairly ad hoc basis


What approach should the Joint Core Strategy take to providing Green Infrastructure?

Sustainability Impact

6.72. You may want to consider the following Sustainability Objectives (See http://www.gct-jcs.org/SustainabilityAppraisal/Home.aspx) when responding to questions on this policy area: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 14, 16 and 18.

Gypsy and Traveller Provision

National Policy Context
  • Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing
  • Circular 01/2006: Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Caravan Sites
  • Circular 04/2007: Planning for Travelling Showpeople
Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West - Proposed Changes
  • GT1: Gypsy and Traveller Pitch Requirements
  • GT2: Travelling Showpeople Pitch Requirements
  • Review of Additional Pitch Requirements for Gypsies and Travellers (April 2008)
Key Issues: 2 / 4

Strategic Objectives: 3

Commentary

6.73. National Planning Policy clearly sets out that, where there is an identified need for new Gypsy and Traveller Sites, it is not acceptable to rely only on criteria based policies and allocations should be made. The need for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in Gloucestershire has been determined through the Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment.  This Assessment forms part of the technical evidence that has been used to inform the Regional Spatial Strategy.

6.74. The Regional Spatial Strategy states that gypsies and travelling people include , but are not limited to, Romany Gypsies, Irish Travellers, New Travellers and Travelling Showpeople  with a variety of cultures and needs both for residential homes  and stopping places .Site specific provision should take account of these different needs through assessment and consultation at the local level including joint working between local authorities .

6.75. The Regional Spatial Strategy sets out the following need requirements:

Figure 6: Gypsies and Traveller Requirements to 2011 (Pitches)

  Gloucester Cheltenham Tewkesbury
Permanent 18 27  75 
Transit 5  10  10
Total 23  37  85

Travelling Showpeople Reguirements to 2011 (Pitches)
Gloucestershire total: 26

6.76. Since April 2006, in the Tewkesbury Borough part of the Joint Core Strategy area, 41 pitches for gypsy families have been permitted (and are occupied) and a further 17 pitches for Travelling Showpeople at Gotherington have been granted temporary planning permission. Gloucester City has also allocated land for a number of pitches for Travelling Showpeople.

6.77. While Cheltenhams provision for sites will be provided in association with new development proposals, initial indicative locations for the provision of Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showpeople are suggested below for comment:

Gypsy Families
  • Oxenton - 6 pitches
  • Tewkesbury (Shutonger) - 5 pitches
  • Elmstone Hardwick - 6 pitches
  • Fiddington - 9 pitches
Travelling Showpeople
  • Teddington Hands - 8 pitches
  • Tewkesbury area - 6 pitches
  • Norton - 2 pitches

6.78. Sites for provision of pitches to meet needs  should  be sustainable, suitable in planning terms, safe from a highway point of view and deliverable.

Things to consider  Outcome
The Joint Core Strategy could seek to identify new pitches/areas of search only in association with urban extensions. May not always meet local need but would help to ensure diversified new communities were created.  Phasing may mean need is not met if urban extensions are delayed or do not happen.
The Joint Core Strategy could focus more on deliverability and identify pitches/areas of search outside the urban areas. Possibly more likely to deliver opportunities and meet local needs but may not be as sustainable as the above approach.

How do you think Gypsy and Traveller sites can best be provided across the Joint Core Strategy area?

Should Gypsy and Traveller / Travelling Showpeople Sites be integrated into the sustainable urban extensions or should they be accommodated elsewhere? Where could these sites be accommodated?

In identifying locations, is it appropriate to provide a large number of smaller sites or concentrate on providing a smaller number of larger sites?

Sustainability Impact

6.79. You may want to consider the following Sustainability Objectives (See http://www.gct-jcs.org/SustainabilityAppraisal/Home.aspx) when responding to questions on this policy area: 8, 12, 14, 15 and 17.



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