A vision for a vibrant community at West Cheltenham

Published on 14th January 2020

Artists impression of cyber central garden community showing the cyber hub, people and water feature

Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Borough councils are working together to create plans for a world class development at West Cheltenham and the public are encouraged to have their say.

The public are invited to take part in a consultation which runs from 13 January through to 17 February.

The vision

The vision is for a vibrant pioneering community, with hi-tech business, residential and leisure uses for investors, local people and visitors. It will offer the highest standards of environmental, sustainable homes as part of a thriving campus and garden community.

Given the importance of these plans to the future of both areas, the councils will be seeking residents’ and businesses’ views of the plans for a Cyber Central Garden Community master-planning framework from 13 January.

This framework - called a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) - will provide a broad masterplan setting out important principles including connections from existing neighbourhoods, the design of green spaces, new homes, employment spaces and community facilities.

At a meeting of Cheltenham’s cabinet members on 17 December and a meeting of Tewkesbury Borough’ executive committee on 8 January, both councils agreed to open the SPD for public consultation from 13 January to 17 February.

Get involved

Residents and businesses will be able to view and comment on the masterplan at any time during the consultation period, from 13 January up until 17 February 2020 online at https://cybercentral.commonplace.is/

Residents will also be encouraged to come along to drop-in events to talk through the masterplan SPD with the planning team:

- Thursday 23 January, 12:30pm - 3:30pm, Springbank Community Centre, GL51 0LG

- Thursday 23 January, 4.30pm – 7.30pm, Hester’s Way Community Centre, GL51 7SU

- Saturday 1 February, 10.30am – 1.30pm, Regent Arcade, High St, Cheltenham GL50 1JZ

- Saturday 1 February, 2:30pm - 5:30pm Tewkesbury - Cheltenham West Community Fire Station Tewkesbury Road, GL51 9SN

Steve Jordan, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council, said: ‘’We want to deliver a vibrant community that brings quality housing and services to our residents and businesses, but that also places Cheltenham and wider Gloucestershire firmly on the map as a world leader in cyber tech.

“We hope people will take a look at the masterplan and share their thoughts with us. They will be able to do this online or at one of our events, where we will have officers on hand to talk people through the SPD. It’s really important that members of the community feel that they can express their views and then help to shape the plans ahead.’’

Rob Bird, leader of Tewkesbury Borough Council, said: “Local communities can be reassured that the pioneering development at West Cheltenham will be backed by the expertise, quality and infrastructure needed to make it a fantastic place to live, work and do business. Having Government-backing through the Garden Communities programme is a great achievement, it clearly recognises the crucial role our areas play in helping to unlock the delivery of much needed homes and vibrant, thriving communities.

“This is a very new and unique development, not just for Cheltenham and Tewkesbury boroughs, but for Gloucestershire, so it’s crucial for us to hear local opinion. Please do get in touch and tell us what you think of the plans – it’s important that we hear from as many people as possible.”

Feedback so far

The feedback from the engagement to date has been invaluable in shaping the master planning process and has resulted in redrafting of the SPD in a number of key areas:

Emphasis on green spaces close to the existing community - the plan has been altered following drop-in events with local residents who were supportive of a new park close to the Springbank neighbourhood.

Impact of traffic and car parking - aiming for the new development to have enough car parking to serve the employment and residential areas. Sustainable transport modes including improved bus networks and cycle networks will also contribute to improving access and reducing the reliance on the private car.

Spreading the impact of employment - although the focus for the employment area will be to the south of the SPD area, conversations have highlighted the opportunity to focus some employment space with good access to the road network.

Response to climate change emergency – opportunity to be innovative and consider ways in which the new development can support the climate change agenda through a drive to deliver a carbon neutral development together with a landscape led scheme that provides functional spaces for residents and businesses, but provides rich and diverse biodiversity, supports water management and drainage and is resilient to the severe weather extremes increasingly experienced.

Notes

The land to deliver the Cyber Central Garden Community has been identified through the approved Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Joint Core Strategy and a planning framework – known as the SPD - has now been prepared to help guide the detail of future planning applications.

The draft SPD has been subject to engagement with key stakeholders and the wider community of West Cheltenham. The draft has been subject to technical review by specialist officers across Cheltenham Borough Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council.