For Cheltenham to remain prosperous there are a number of factors that need to be addressed. These include housing for a growing population, modern business premises and infrastructure for economic growth, skills and training for young people and improved transport infrastructure.
The area’s needs have been established through evidence based work undertaken jointly by Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Gloucester councils to inform the development of their Joint Core Strategy (JCS) which has become the long term strategic plan to shape development in the area up to 2031.
The JCS seeks to allocate strategic development in support of sustainable urban and rural communities, and Elms Park is now included within this strategy.
Population and Housing
Reflecting population projections, by 2031 there will be a requirement for 33,500 new homes to be built in the area. Housing need in and around Cheltenham is twice the level of actual supply, with young people, working families and the retired facing particular pressures. The need for affordable housing, particularly for key workers, is made worse by limited opportunities to provide new housing within existing towns and rural villages.
Employment and Skills
Economic job forecasts and employment land requirement reviews have enabled the JCS to establish the number of new jobs likely to be created and the new space required to meet this demand. By 2031 there will be a requirement for 190 hectares of employment land to meet the demand.
Cheltenham and Gloucester are the main employment centres in the area. To retain existing employers and attract new investment into the town, there is a need for high quality, modern business space that offers easy access to transport routes and is connected by super-fast Broadband networks.
Alongside modern premises, investment is needed in education and training to provide young people with the skills they need to find employment in the local area and to reverse the trend of residents moving away to find work, or commuting long distances.
Transport and Infrastructure
Transport connections beyond the region are good, with motorways, railways and airports linking to other towns, cities and regions in the UK and beyond. However, local transport issues in Cheltenham need to be addressed through the provision of enhanced local public transport services, alongside improvements to pedestrian and cycle routes.
A strategic objective of the JCS is to increase access to jobs and services via sustainable transport modes.