A new approach to the Tewkesbury Garden Town – with a commitment to increased community engagement, and improved collaboration with partners and developers – was voted in at Tewkesbury Borough Council’s Full Council on Tuesday, 25 July.
The Council decision follows a gateway review of the garden town, which was undertaken earlier this year after concerns were raised by councillors around the programme’s delivery.
There were no fundamental concerns found with the aims or the principles of the garden town itself, but the review made hard-hitting recommendations to enhance the programme’s delivery, particularly regarding community engagement and collaboration with partners and developers.
A new programme of delivery, based on the review’s 17 recommendations will now be developed and presented to the Council on Tuesday, 26 September.
The Council decided to do 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.
Importantly, the review highlights that without a garden town programme to guide high-quality sustainable housing, the risk of poor-quality, piecemeal development would be considerable.
Supporting a new approach, the council is also developing 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.
Councillor Richard Stanley, Leader of Tewkesbury Borough Council, said: “I am pleased that the findings of the gateway review have been fully acknowledged and a new approach for the garden town can now be developed.
“We are committed to taking account of stakeholders’ views and working more closely with local residents, parish councils, landowners and the full consortium of developers. We can now begin the important work of developing a new programme that rebuilds meaningful community engagement and has an outward-looking communications strategy.
“The report puts forward suggestions for delivering the Garden Town in ways that will satisfy not only current but also future needs, with the emphasis on delivering high-quality green homes and infrastructure capable of supporting healthy communities and fostering community spirit. Our fresh approach champions well-designed, holistically planned development, creating sustainable communities and enhancing the natural environment, with a focus on addressing the issue of climate change.
“This decision to progress with a new garden town approach reduces the risk of uncoordinated growth around Ashchurch and Junction 9 and prioritises high-quality housing and joined up decisions about infrastructure.
“This vote is an important step towards ensuring that the garden town makes a positive contribution for the community now and for generations to come.”