Pegasus Group have represented four strategic sites on behalf of Robert Hitchins Ltd. through the development of the Joint Core Strategy (JCS), namely Land at Twigworth, Land at Innsworth, Land at Fiddington and part of the Ashchurch site. Two of these sites, namely Twigworth and Innsworth lie in the Green Belt.
The JCS has been under preparation since 2008. It was subject to five rounds of consultation prior to submission in November 2014. At the penultimate round of consultation in the autumn of 2013 three of the strategic sites (Twigworth, Innsworth and Ashchurch) were identified as allocations. However, the Twigworth site was dropped as an allocation prior to submission in response to a reduced housing requirement of 30,500 homes over the period 2011 to 2031.
Pegasus Group have participated in hearing sessions since May 2015. The first year of hearing sessions focussed on strategic issues, including the objectively assessed need, the housing requirement and omission sites. These detailed and lengthy discussions have resulted in the Inspector identifying a housing requirement of 35,175 dwellings over the plan period which has necessitated the identification of additional sites for residential development. The Inspector has supported the allocation of all four of the sites promoted by Pegasus Group in her preliminary findings (December 2015). In her Interim Findings in May 2016 the Inspector recommended the inclusion of Twigworth as a strategic urban extension.
After over two years at the Joint Core Strategy Examination, the Inspector wrote her report (October 2017) and concluded that there are exceptional circumstances for Green Belt release at four of the five proposed strategic allocations within the Green Belt. The Inspector concluded that arrangement for housing apportionment where inter alia, Gloucester’s strategic allocations are allocated to Gloucester.
Pegasus Group has supported and promoted the land in the Green Belt at Innsworth which is a strategic urban extension to Gloucester for 1,300 dwellings and employment land. In addition, Pegasus promoted land at Twigworth for 750 dwellings in the Green Belt which was originally included in the Draft Plan as a strategic allocation, but when the Plan was submitted to the Secretary of State the Twigworth site was excluded (see above). However, after making representations on the Joint Core Strategy and attending the Core Strategy Examination, the Inspector has concluded that there are exceptional circumstances for land to be removed from the Green Belt at Twigworth, which would contribute a greater level of housing supply to Gloucester than North Churchdown also in the Green Belt. Accordingly, Twigworth has been recommended as an additional strategic allocation.
The Councils have now adopted the JCS at full Council meetings in November and December 2017.