COUNTY COUNCILLORS SUPPORT SAVE THE COUNTRYSIDE CAMPAIGN IN LONDON

January 20, 2009 2:16 PM

Liberal Democrat county councillors will be attending Parliament tomorrow to support the Gloucestershire MP's visit to the Government minister in charge of the future of housing developments in the county. Councillor Suzanne Williams and Councillor Ceri Jones will visit London. The same day is the meeting of the Full Council in Shire Hall.

Gloucestershire is threatened by Government imposed targets to build houses on greenbelt land.

On Wednesday Gloucestershire MP's meet Ian Wright, MP, who is the minister responsible for the Regional Spatial Strategy. This strategy will determine the future of developments in greenbelt land in the county.

Cllr Suzanne Williams, LibDem, Springbank, said: "I am determined to fight these plans for houses on the greenbelt around Cheltenham. Local people are up in arms about targets for housing imposed by the Government. There's been no detailed study of the impact the housing could have in Cheltenham. Supporting our MP Martin Horwood in his efforts to protect the town is an important part of my job as a councillor."

Cllr Ceri Jones, LibDem, Bishop's Cleeve, said: "This is no more than a Government fix. Bishop's Cleeve has been woefully overdeveloped and the voice of its people has been wilfully ignored. We must continue to passionately oppose these outrageous housing proposals which are based on shameful misinformation about our communities."

The Government's planned Regional Spatial Strategy will outline the targets for housing numbers and areas for housing to be built. The Conservative-run county council has encouraged the Government to look at Gloucestershire as a potential site for housing by applying for "growth point status". This is a Government scheme to accelerate the plans for thousands more houses on the greenbelt.

Cllr Jeremy Hilton, Liberal Democrat leader said: "We must protect our countryside across the county and the Government have put no effort into looking at the detail of problems in Gloucestershire. Extensive flooding in 2007 exposed many risks to new housing which the Government has ignored. Encouraging the building on green fields around Gloucester and Cheltenham will discourage urban regeneration. This is something close to my heart as a councillor representing central Gloucester. I'm delighted that our councillors are supporting this campaign in London."