Understanding Gloucestershire

The county of Gloucestershire includes different areas and communities, from the more remote edges of the Forest of Dean to Cotswold villages and market towns.

Gloucestershire overall may be affluent but there are pockets of deprivation within larger towns, particularly Cheltenham and Gloucester, and in rural villages.

Local factors have a big impact on attitudes to development.

  • Land values: where land values are lower – which is the case in the west of the county – getting any housing built is welcome, there can be extreme caution about doing anything that threatens viability.

  • Community attitudes to development: some residents groups and parishes are hostile to development, whereas others support development that is seen to meet local needs.

  • Local political choices: politicians at different tiers of local government approach new development from different starting points. In some areas building new social housing is opposed, whilst in others this is key to unlocking local support for new housing.

  • Familiarity with new development: in Gloucester and Cheltenham there is well-established experience of new housing at scale. In other districts, like Stroud, large scale development is new.

  • Officer confidence within the planning system: Officers from different Districts have very different perceptions of their potential to negotiate social benefits with developers. Attitudes vary from confidence in working with developers, to a sense that nothing can be done to boost social sustainability.