• Green Belt Grab!

  • Housing Plan = Gridlock

  • Build Houses in Churcham?

News Update

District Council Divided On Housing Strategy!

Last Thursday, October 15th, the Forest of Dean District’s Full Council narrowly approved the strategy likely to create a large development between the A40 and the A48.

Amendments to reflect on and revisit the strategy were voted down by the councillors in a very close vote.

We now have eight weeks to enter into a consultation period. Due to Covid we cannot meet to support/discuss/or oppose this madness.

Our only tool is social media and individual representation, so please:

  • In the parish council, we will engage with the consultation process and keep you all updated.

    Many thanks,

    John Francis – Chairman, Churcham Parish Council

Churcham Parish Council Alert!

On October 8th, the Cabinet of the Forest of Dean District Council approved a new settlement as the preferred option for the housing plan for the district. This preferred option is to site 4000 houses between the A40 and A48 in the parish of Churcham. The extent of this development if approved will cover an area of 470 acres. The parish council have not been consulted on the strategy and are against a development of this size in the parish. indeed it will change our rural community into a urban one.

Also the traffic this development will generate will be disabling for the parish and cause major problems on our road network. We have no details or been consulted over this, we don’t know where it is being sited or what landowners are being affected.

Forest of Dean have a further meeting on the 15th October 2020 to put forward the strategy to the planning committee, if approved there will be an 8 week consultation period where the parish council and parish can then express our views. It seems perverse that a strategy to site a development of this size in our community is being taken and us the residents only have a chance to comment after the strategy is decided!!!

John Francis – Chairman, Churcham Parish Council

What’s wrong with the plan

Issues to consider when writing to your Councillor or MP

  • Settlement on the boundary of Forest of Dean and Tewkesbury Districts will feed into Gloucester and Cheltenham, and starve the Forest of Dean District of investment and footfall
  • Any development or investment – whether housing, businesses or infrastructure – in Forest towns and on brownfield land deemed economically unviable by Council’s Economic Viability Assessment – a death knell to our Forest communities
  • Will businesses be attracted to invest in towns and villages which the local council does not appear to deem worthy of investment

FoDDC agree to build new town on green fields!

Urgent Questions Needing Answers

LACK OF CONSULTATION

Why have the parish councils of Churcham and the neighbouring parishes not been informed or consulted about this large development particularly in light of it being discussed for the last 12 months?

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Why have the public not had the chance to input on the decision between building around existing areas vs building a new settlement…the majority of feedback we have received so far is that people would prefer development spread across Forest of Dean district for multiple reasons! The figure of 7000 for the housing allocation to be met by the district by 2041 if divided across the 40 parishes of the district would mean 175 per parish.

The house numbers for this development and further building within the district is based on an algorithm from central government; has this been challenged, are that many new homes actually needed in the area?

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TRANSPORT

By placing the new settlement in Churcham at the edge of the Forest of Dean district the Gloucester and Cheltenham economy will benefit not the local forest towns… hence the Forest towns footfall will just continue to decline!!

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By the council’s own admission surveys have indicated the majority of people living in the East of the Forest of Dean commute into Gloucester, Cheltenham and other locations serviced by the M5. How does building a large commuter town that services Gloucester and Cheltenham benefit the rest of the Forest of Dean?

Everyone knows that because of the geography and the river Severn the A40 and the A48 are some of the most congested roads in Gloucestershire with traffic queues regularly backing up for several miles. How does building a commuter town servicing Gloucester and Cheltenham help alleviate this congestion problem?

Where are such large numbers of children going to go to school, we know the majority of children are driven to school, how is this going to help the congestion problem?

This year both the A40 and A48 were closed due to floods and run-off. Churcham is the lowest point in Gloucestershire. How is a commuter town going to help with this situation? The flood bank is being made taller at Epney so pushing the flooding higher up the Severn.

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ENVIRONMENT

Churcham is home to prime farmland and rare areas of biodiversity including traditional orchards and ancient woodland. How is building on such a large area going to help food security at a time of global uncertainty in food supplies.

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Loss of habitat and climate change are primary concerns for the country. How is building a new commuter town the the scale of Coleford, dependent on the car, on a greenfield site going to address these concerns?

How is the character of the historic area going to be protected with such a large expanse of urban sprawl at the gateway to the Forest of Dean?

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Map of Forest of Dean District

Forthcoming Dates

Tuesday 20th October 7.00pm

Meeting of Churcham Parish Council

What people are saying …

Anyone from the Forest who has been stuck in the traffic either on the A40 or the A48 for up to an hour in the morning going up to the roundabout will know this is a stupid idea. You can’t plan journeys or make morning appointments because you have no idea how long the journey will take.

This huge development is next to a World recognised site for migrating birds at Walmore Common. If it goes ahead there will be catastrophic harm to migrating birds.

Such a large developement changes the nature of the forest of dean, a place enjoyed for it’s rural nature by locals and tourists alike.

Whilst I accept the need for more housing rural land is very important not only for farming but for the mental health and wellbeing of many. Do not take this away.

There is no effective road infrastructure to take this amount of houses!

Take Action

Take action against the preferred plan by signing this petition.