How Do I Object to the Ecotricity Planning Application?

Any one is entitled to object to a planning application.

And you can do so as often as you like – in particular whenever a new piece of ‘information’ comes to the fore.

You can do so by going on-line to the Stroud website by clicking  This Link   and enter  S.16/0043/OUT  in the ‘simple search’ box.

You  can also write to The Planning Office at Ebley Mill, Stroud and quote ref: S.16/0043/OUT.    Be sure to make clear that you are objecting (rather than just commenting, say) and give one or two (not a dozen!)  good planning-based reasons.    The following are all valid reasons, which you can adapt to your own ‘voice’

Continue reading How Do I Object to the Ecotricity Planning Application?

Second application granted outline permission

The second application by Ecotricity/Dale Vince for the football stadium on land by Junction 13 was passed by SDC’s Develoopment Control Committee on Weds 18/12/2019 by a vote of 6 – 4.

We hoped that this would be called in by The Secretary of State, leading to a public enquiry. This was declined, however, so the outline permission stands.  There are conditions ,though, and there will be plenty of haggling before the full detailed permission is granted (although it probaby will be eventually)

This second application was very similar to the first ( which was rejected in July 2019) with some small additions to boost the apparent community benefit and clarify some details.  These included the provision of an all-weather pitch  for ‘community use’, and some detail on the landscaping.  In addition, although this is in theory an outline application, it was said that the design of the building and some of the undertakings by the applicant would be ‘fixed’ via a binding section 106 agreement.

It has to be noted, though, that Nailsworth Town council have been unimpressed by Dale’s record on keeping to similar agreements in the past.

Although they gave no real reasons beyond the fact that it was an ‘iconic’ building, the Stroud planning officers had recommended that the Committee should approve the application – going directly against the provisions of the current Local Plan and the Eastington Neighbourhood plan.  Planning law requires that applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with the (local)development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. We do not think that ‘material considerations’ have been shown, certainly not outweighing the harm that would be caused both to the character – and residents –  of the area in general and to William Morris College in particular (see previous posts).

We there fore believe that the officers were wrong to make their recommendation to approve,  and the Committee was lax in not questioning the reasons more fully.

The application has been referred to The Secretary of state for DCLG ( Local Government) who has 21 days from 18/12/19 to decide whether to initiate a public enquiry.  This process is normally reserved for larger applications, but the (we believe) inappropriate overruling of the Local Plan makes this about much more that the stadium.  Green spaces throughout the district may be at risk unlawfully.

Our new MP Siobhan Baillie is supporting us in this.

Update 11/02/2020 – The Secretary of State for DCLG has  extended the time needed to make a decision on this.  We await news.

Update March 2020 – the call in was declined.  The outline permission stands.




Local Plan Review Drop-in at Slimbridge – findings

We called in at Slimbridge this afternoon and the planners were very helpful in showing us all the reports and documents that they use to evaluate sites such as this. There is a points system based on various suitability factors for ‘allocation’, and we will scrutinise these reports to see exactly how this decision was arrived at.

Superficially it looks as though ‘PS20’ could have been a bit more sympathetically scored on the basis of flood plain, listed buildings, access (Junction 13 is already recognised as a ‘pinch point’), AoNB considerations, etc. It is all somewhat marginal, but they did agree that there ARE sensitivities to be considered, (and any further planning permissions in the future will clearly be open to challenge).

There does appear to be a quantified ‘need’ for more community space for sports. (not that this necessitates a stadium, of course!) – but again we will need to scrutinise the actual documents and figures. We might be able to argue that this space should only be ‘allocated’ for potential use as open space for community recreation.

In addition we discovered that the ‘need’ for extra employment land in the area is the subject of a report that will not be out until next year – this may well prove the lack of actual ‘need’ for any further industrial development there, but in the meantime (i.e. before the January deadline for comment) we can at least point to this as disappointingly ‘unknown’.

There will be further points in time for us to argue the case during next year as the process goes through its next stages.

New Stadium proposal – Highways Response

Highways England have made their response to the new stadium proposal (as amended to be just the football stadium complex  on the north side of the A419).   In summary they require that conditions are attached to any planning permission to say that  specified road improvements both to the A419 and the M5 junction are to be completed FIRST.

The required mitigation measures include the dualling of the A419 carriageway between M5 J13 and the Chipmans Platt Roundabout and changes to the white lining and signing at M5 J13, to allow greater capacity to be achieved from this junction. This allows for both lanes of the northbound and southbound off slips to be used to travel east, exiting via the A419 towards Stonehouse.

 You can read their full response here:-



Progress at Great Oldbury

Great Oldbury :   West of Stonehouse development)

Feb. 2018

The building of the new ‘spine’ road continues apace, to the point where it is already hard to remember exactly what Grove Lane looked like before they started.

The Planning Application for the first phase originally submitted by Redrow, was rejected mainly because it did not comply with provisions in the Masterplan for buffer zones around Westend and Nupend. Continue reading Progress at Great Oldbury

The New Ecotricity Stadium Proposal

Following discussions with Stroud District Planners,  Ecotricity have been advised that their original proposal would not fly and so  have amended their planning application.

It retains the original planning reference  S.16/0043/OUT

The planning application no longer includes any employment/business and the proposed Nature Conservation Area to the west of the M5 has been removed.

The ‘Sports Complex’ has been reduced in scale and repositioned to the north of the A419 as shown Continue reading The New Ecotricity Stadium Proposal

What is the Local Plan

The Local Plan and Local Plan Review

The Eastington Neighbourhood Development Plan and the Stroud District Local Plan were developed in parallel and are supposed to represent the ‘localism’ part of the new planning laws. They were finally approved and adopted in 2016.

The plans had to follow national guidelines, with their presumption in favour of sustainable development, but did allow us to say where within our area/district we thought that development should be focused.  They also express and underline our rights to have our traditional character respected along with traditional settlement patterns.  This meant that preserving our ‘rural character’ and the  distinct identities of our hamlets became a genuine consideration in making planning decisions.  The WoS development was considered a ‘strategic’ necessity, and had to be accepted into the plans as a given, but it was hoped that the other policies in both plans would go some way to protecting our environment and way of life here, as well as the identities of the hamlets most affected by WoS.

The NDP in particular allowed us to state that development (other than WoS) in the Parish should be confined to an envelope  around Alkerton, with minimal development elsewhere.  Sites adjacent to the envelope could be considered as ‘exception sites’  where particular developments  considered desirable – such as for affordable housing for local people – might be allowed.

5 Year Review

No sooner was the ink dry on the Local Plan, than the government made it law that the plans were to be reviewed every 5 years.  This is a big undertaking and with all the consultations involved etc will take 5 years to complete!  The current plan runs from 2016 to 2031, the Review will be completed by 2021 and the revised plan will the run up to 2026 – etc.

As part of the review, SDC are obliged to ‘look ahead’ for potential new development sites should they be needed ( both for housing and employment).  At present (Nov 2017) they consider that they have sufficient ‘possible’ development sites for the housing and employment numbers that the Government Inspector requires of them, and that these sites are documented in the plan.  SDC will need to review both how this ‘land supply’ is shaping up over the 5 years as well as  the inevitable increase in the Government’s requirement over time.

Unfortunately for us,  even at this early stage of the review,  a couple of what we now regard as ‘exception sites’  ( available only for possible future affordable housing for parishioners) are being considered as mainstream ‘potential’ development sites.

Even more unfortunately, Dale Vince’s two plots (North and South of the A419)  in particular –  are already being included in the review and could be accepted into the revised plan as possible development sites.

The sad fact is that the mere existence of WoS makes these sites ‘adjacent’ to an existing settlement, which makes them vulnerable!

We cannot stop these sites from being considered in the review, but we CAN lobby against actually including them in the revised plan on the grounds that if/when more employment land is required, there are much more appropriate places to use up first.  We do not believe that clustering employment sites around the motorway junction is anything but disastrous for the District

There will be several rounds of  Public consultation as the review progresses – Please check our latest posts.