The Joint Core Strategy celebrates its 5th Birthday

The Joint Core Strategy celebrates its 5th Birthday
Happy 5th Birthday to the Joint Core Strategy (JCS): The joint plan between Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury, covers the plan period 2011 – 2031.

On 17 December, the JCS will be more than five years old. As set out within the National Planning Policy Framework, this coming of age brings with it implications. Specifically, for how housing land supply is calculated within the three authorities. Essentially, housing land supply should now be calculated through a standard method, established at national level. This, rather than relying on an agreed trajectory of housing supply, and reasonable sharing of houses across the JCS area,

How does this affect the housing land supply?

This will change the current position of the authorities. It is our working assumption, based on the best available data, that the housing land supply of Tewkesbury now drops substantially below the necessary five years plus buffer. This is of distinct relevance as the council are currently claiming a healthy supply of housing land. These claims are influencing recent planning decisions.

Despite our forecast, we are now being led to believe that Tewkesbury Borough Council consider that their housing land supply will in fact increase to over 6 years at this important landmark for the JCS. This raises some important issues that will need to be explored in the coming weeks and months.

As we know, the geography of the JCS area is such that the majority of land falls under the jurisdiction of Tewkesbury Borough Council. On this basis, the JCS established a clear working arrangement between the three authorities. As a result, houses provided through strategic allocations on land within Tewkesbury Borough Council contribute to the housing supply of Gloucester and Cheltenham. This applies where their proximity to these important hubs makes good planning sense. Such an arrangement is the golden thread which runs through the plan. It facilitates a strategic approach to be taken for the delivery of housing, in a region heavily constrained by the Green Belt, Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and flood zones.

Impact on Cheltenham and Gloucester Councils

For Tewkesbury to claim that their housing land supply position will improve at this five year landmark, can only be at the expense of this established working arrangement. How this will impact on Gloucester and Cheltenham is unknown. Indeed, although it may have happened, we are not aware of any discussions between the councils on this matter. If true, this would be highly surprising. There are implications, not only for individual housing land supply positions, but also in terms of the necessary review of the JCS. In addition, there is a need to provide a plan-led approach for the region.

As the Joint Core Strategy celebrates its 5th Birthday, we anticipate some very interesting discussions between the three authorities. This will no doubt present the need for some very detailed cases to support future planning applications.

Should you wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact us:


t: Cheltenham: 01242 231575 | Gloucester: 01452 527997 | London: 020 3763 8005

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