No joined-up think­ing over plan­ning moves

Gloucestershire Echo - - LETTERS & OPINION -

✒ YOU re­ported last week on two de­vel­op­ments in Tewkes­bury.

The first was a new out-of-town shop­ping de­vel­op­ment off the A46 at Fid­ding­ton, com­pris­ing a 159,000sq ft out­let vil­lage and 81,800sq ft of gar­den cen­tre run by a com­pany from Vi­enna, with the in­ten­tion of at­tract­ing shop­pers from Bris­tol, Birm­ing­ham and all points in be­tween.

Ap­par­ently, plan­ning per­mis­sion was granted de­spite ob­jec­tions by plan­ning of­fi­cers and ig­nores the wide­spread im­pact on town cen­tres and in­creased traf­fic.

Se­condly, Glouces­ter and Tewkes­bury are to re­ceive fund­ing to re­vi­talise and re­fur­bish their high streets from a £95m Gov­ern­ment pot to revive high streets across Eng­land and Wales and help tra­di­tional busi­nesses to com­pete bet­ter with on­line out­lets.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have tar­gets to cut CO2 emissions, of which cars are a ma­jor source, so can only be achieved if car use is re­duced.

In 1998, the county coun­cil, fol­low­ing on from the Vi­sion 21 Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Re­port (part of a na­tional pro­ject) signed up to the tar­gets set by the Royal Com­mis­sion on Environmen­tal Pol­lu­tion:

To achieve stan­dards of air qual­ity that will pre­vent dam­age to hu­man health and the en­vi­ron­ment in com­pli­ance with WHO guide­lines for trans­port-re­lated pol­lu­tion by 2005

To re­duce jour­neys by car from 65 per cent to 60 per cent by 2020

To re­duce CO2 emissions to no more than 80 per cent of 1990 lev­els by 2020 (now 2030...).

None of these tar­gets have been met – and there has been a mas­sive in­crease in car use.

Out-of-town de­vel­op­ments, of which the seem­ingly end­less ex­pan­sion of the Tewkes­bury Road re­tail park in Chel­tenham (but in Tewkes­bury BC) is a good ex­am­ple, is a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to car use, as the traf­fic chaos in Chel­tenham il­lus­trates.

So, on the one hand Tewkes­bury will have a re­tail de­vel­op­ment which may dec­i­mate the town’s high street and in­crease car use in the teeth of CO2 re­duc­tion tar­gets and on the other hand gets fund­ing to re­gen­er­ate its high street.

Noth­ing il­lus­trates bet­ter the com­plete dis­con­nect be­tween what needs to be done re­gard­ing cli­mate change and what is ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing in spite of so many warn­ings.

Just what planet do these coun­cil­lors live on? It’s ab­so­lutely bonkers. What will they tell their chil­dren? A Davies Charl­ton Kings

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