For more background,you can Click here to go to the SDC website for the Local Plan Review – or see our ‘Local Plan’ main page. You can see the ‘Issues and Options’ document here
This consultation document describes the key issues and poses questions asking you for opinions and ideas. You can make responses until Tuesday 5th December 2017
Your responses – long or short – can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Local Plan Review, The Planning Strategy Team, Stroud District Council, Ebley Mill, Stroud GL5 4UB
There is also an on-line ‘survey’ to give your response to the questions posed.
Read on to see the questions and what we say….
Issues and Options – extract Q & A
The document talks of many high ambitions to improve the well being of people in the District, many of which read well and can be heartily endorsed. But, as ever, the reality is governed by the growing need for new housing and employment (with numbers based on government requirements) and the apparent power this gives to the Developers: power to build what they want and where they want regardless of the actual needs of the local population – and their subsequent apparent inability to build what is required -(e.g. genuinely affordable homes and smaller homes) where required (e.g. on brownfield sites).
As far as KER is concerned, the key issues mentioned in the review that will be of particular interest for future planning applications are
- “Rebalancing and regenerating the existing employment stock” ( Key issue no 2)
- “Addressing the high level of daily commuting out of and into the District” (Key issue 3)
– we would point out that a huge honey-pot employment site at Jn 13 is unlikely to resolve either of these issues – see Qn 2b below)
- “Tackling the acute lack of affordable housing in the District” (11)
- “Ensuring new housing development is located in the right place, … sustainable development”(12)
- “Providing the right size of accommodation to meet local needs(particularly for smaller, cheaper market and affordable homes)”(13)
- “Providing opportunities for self-build/custom housing, smaller
sized developments and new models for housing delivery.”(16)
- “Maximising thhe potential of brownfield and underused sites”(17)
– All laudable aims, but not achievable by giving developers have a free hand. These aims can only be delivered if Planning Policies are written to favour them. In particular we cannot even try to satisfy our own relatively modest ‘affordable housing’ needs if the exception sites that we might use are annexed and effectively opened up for market housing. (see below)
Environment and well being
The focus has shifted from delighting in our heretage somewhat, but the following issues do get a mention:-
“Conserving and enhancing Stroud District’s countryside, landscape
and biodiversity, ” (19) and ” Protecting and enhancing our historic environment whilst adapting to modern demands” (21)
One ‘key issue’ that we should be aware of is key issue number 31
“.Improving the provision of good quality sports facilities, to meet the District’s needs and increase participation in sports and physical activity, particularly among children and young people”
– we have no quarrel with this aim at all, but might have to point out that a 5000 seater football stadium is not really a ‘sporting facility’ for very many people. Active football participation would be much better achieved with rather more less grandioise football clubs and facilities genuinely accessible in a sustainable manner.
(you will have gathered by now that ‘sustainable’ means accessible by public transport, and/or close together)
The main part of the document goes on to identify more particular needs within the district, and the options for future growth. Throughout, it poses a series of questions to the reader, asking for preferences and ideas.
There are some genuinely thought provoking options for the future – (and now that they have got their way with WoS it is intersting to note a bit of a turnaround with a nod towards more growth dispersal!).
It is worth reading the document and making your own responses, but here I am just highlighting the parts that may be of particlur interest to KER in terms of future planning applications
Para 2.1 says “The new Local Plan may need to allocate further land for employment uses, to meet business needs from 2031 to 2036…”
Do you think there is a need for further employment land allocations? …..”
– we say that as far as Eastington is concerned, with existing facilities togetheer with those planned alongside Wos we are very well provided for in terms of local employment land for our size.
Do you think locating growth adjacent to M5 junctions should be supported; or would
continuing expansion of employment land at existing settlements/sites be preferable?
We have always maintained that building a ‘honeypot’ business park at Jn 13 would be disastrous for the rest of the district (as well as for our rural aspect). It would largely serve to draw jobs away from existing, sustainable employments sites such as Stroud town centre tself, as well as deterring the provision of new jobs in more distributed (and more sustainable) locations around the district.
- Stroud valley Mill sites
- Cam & Dursley ( Littlecombe)
- Hunts Grove
Bearing in mind that there is already a substantial provision for employment land associated with WoS close by, there is absolutely no benefit in attracting even more jobs away from those other areas in the District that really need them. Some of the new businesses may well come from outside the district – from Bristol or even Swindon, say – which might increase revenue to Stroud – but they would also bring a whole load of new commuters into the area, with all the consequent traffic concerns and infrastructure requirements.
The balance is clearly in favour of distributing jobs around the already planned/existing sites and settlements.
Tell us about housing needs and opportunities in
your area …..”
We have recently enjoyed two substantial market housing growth spurts (Bradestones Way and Swallowcroft) – and our pressing need now is for more affordable and rented accommodation – to help both our up-coming youngsters and our downsizing seniors to stay close to their family roots. The Eastington Community Land Trust is trying to address some of these needs, but this ambition is not furthered by SDC opening up our planned ‘exception sites’ to market forces.
Do you think that local housing need surveys should also be used to influence the housing mix on local for-sale housing sites?
– yes ??? why-ever not ????
Are there existing facilities or local spaces that you consider important for protection? If so please tell us and explain why they are of particular importance
– our open spaces are very important to our rural community and way of life – they form part of who we are – especially the many walkers, dog owners and nature lovers amongst us.
Page 44 shows potential development sites on the edge of Alkerton village.
Page 47 shows potential development sites on the edge of Stonehouse – this includes Dale Vince’s land.