A new approach to the Tewkesbury Garden Town is to be proposed following a gateway review of the programme.
A report going to Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Full Council later this month proposes that, following the findings from the review, a new programme is developed to ensure the garden town can be successfully delivered to benefit new and existing communities.
The council undertook a gateway review of the garden town, a step which is considered best practice for programmes of its size, to ensure its original aims and objectives are still being met. It was carried out by Cratus, a specialist consultancy with expertise in planning, communications, community engagement and advisory support for local councils.
The review was clear that it found no fundamental concerns with the aims or principles of the garden town, but it contains hard-hitting recommendations to enhance the programme’s delivery, particularly regarding community engagement and collaboration with partners and developers.
The review notes that without a garden town programme to guide sustainable, high-quality housing, there is significant risk of poor-quality, piecemeal development in the area.
It also highlights the importance of the work the council is doing on the development of a Strategic Framework Plan, which will enable a collaborative approach with developers and communities to designing and building the garden town over the coming decades.
The proposal will be presented by Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Leader, Councillor Richard Stanley, during a meeting of Full Council on Tuesday, 25 July.
Councillor Stanley said: “With the gateway review into the garden town programme now complete, it confirms my concerns about its progress and delivery. The review provides strong recommendations that will have a fundamentally positive impact on the delivery of the garden town.
“The review signals a fresh start for the garden town programme. We are committed to rebuilding meaningful community engagement with an outward-looking communications strategy, taking account of stakeholders’ views and working more closely with developers and landowners.
“The report suggests ways of delivering the garden town which meet existing and future needs, with the focus on the delivery of new, high quality green homes and the infrastructure to support healthy and sociable communities. A fresh approach will ensure that development in the garden town area is well-designed and holistically planned to provide new sustainable communities – embracing the local assets that are already enjoyed, and enhancing the natural environment, with a focus on tackling climate change.
“I have to make it clear that without the garden town programme, growth around Ashchurch and Junction 9 will still take place, but with a significant risk of it being uncoordinated, and without the requirements for high-quality housing or joined up decisions about infrastructure. Planned improvements to Junction 9 are reliant on the garden town and any further delay to the programme will threaten their delivery.
“I have already met with locally based developers that are currently engaged with the programme and they want to work with us to make a positive contribution for generations to come. I look forward to working with the full consortium of developers, as well as our parish councils and local residents, with a focus on what we as a community want for our garden town.”