Over 30,000 new homes to be built in Gloucestershire
There will be no changes to plans to develop more than 30,000 new homes in Gloucestershire over the next 17 years despite data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that the population across Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury should grow by 11% less than previously expected between 2011 and 2031.
The 11% reduction in projected population growth translates to a 5% fall in the number of residential properties needed to be built, with the total currently set at 30,500.
However, an independent consultant working on behalf of the three councils behind the housing plan, referred to as the Joint Core Strategy (JCS), believes that the 5% figure - around 1,600 homes - is within "any normal margin of error". Consequently, no amends will be made to the JCS as things stand.
Population forecasts for Cheltenham and Gloucester have been slashed following a fall in the volume of predicted birth rates, while in Tewkesbury, a decline in predicted population growth has been attributed to a fall in the number of people expected to move to the area.
Andrew North, chief executive of Cheltenham Borough Council and the head of the JCS project, commented: "While these latest ONS population figures do indicate a slower growth for the Tewkesbury area compared to the 2011 figures, the advice we have from independent consultants Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research is that this change is partially dependent on the slow economy experienced over the past five years. Therefore, if the economy does improve, or if we experience problems with any of the sites identified for development, flexibility will be needed.Therefore, for these reasons, and in line with national planning guidance, no changes have been made to the plan at this stage prior to publication."