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 or you can 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’
1. Violation of the spirit and the letter of the Local Plan
The NPPF, the Government’s planning guidelines, whilst promoting a presumption in favour of sustainable development, do require that primacy is given to adopted Local Development Plans. Stroud has had an adopted Local Plan since December 2015.
The Strategic Objectives of the Stroud Local plan require that all new development be ‘in, or adjacent to, or an extension of’ existing settlements and facilities. The Plan prioritises six Strategic sites, adjacent to our large market towns, and the regeneration of brownfield sites in the Stroud Valleys. These priorities do not include this site.
1.1 Core Policy CP2 says that “The policies within the Local Plan identify designated areas where housing, employment and retail development are considered appropriate”
- This site is NOT so designated and MUST therefore be considered inappropriate.
1.2. Core Policy CP14 says it supports “high quality development which protects, conserves and enhances the built and natural environment….and which ….. produces no unacceptable levels of air, noise, light or pollution…”
- A football stadium does not enhance a ‘green field’ environment – it wrecks it
- it does generate a level of noise and light that would be unacceptable to residents nearby – not least to the existing vulnerable people at William Morris College right next door.
1.3 Core Policy CP15 says “In order to protect the separate identity of settlements and the quality of the countryside …. Proposals outside identified settlement development limits will not be permitted except” …… .(where the development is ‘essential’ )…
- The proposal is totally outside settlement development limits and is certainly not essential in the context of this policy.
- The proposal would occupy one of the last substantial bits of green space separating Stonehouse (and its ‘urban extension’) from the main settlements of Eastington (Regretfully accepting that Westend/Nupend and Nastend have already been sacrificed in this regard, with just minimalistic ‘buffer zones’).
- Several recent local planning appeals have been dismissed for being outside the settlement limits, or for encroaching on green ‘gaps’
Most of us know what junction 13 is like at 8.30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on any weekday, and what it is like trying to get into Stonehouse or Stroud in the mornings. This can only get worse as the WoS development progresses. This proposal would clearly further increase the traffic, both on a day to day basis and horrendously so on ‘match days’ .
- The situation is already bad – even just ‘not making it worse’ would not be good enough. There is no satisfactory evidence to show that the problem can be solved at all without massive infrastructure changes. Just fiddling about with traffic lanes and putting traffic lights on Jn 13 is NOT going to cut it.
- There will be more frustration and more accidents with increased traffic levels – especially when emotions may be running high.
- Stroud Town and the valleys would effectively be cut off from the motorway by the congestion and become moribund.
This site is not sustainable in as much as it would encourage more car journeys – specifically contravening the Strategic Objective SO4 of the Local Plan : “promoting healthier alternatives to the use of the private car”
- There is no train station within walking distance
- There is/would be a half-hourly bus service (according to Stagecoach) but no specific ‘Park and Ride’ facility. The bus would be our existing 61/66 bus diverted to serve the WoS development initially, and then potentially this development as well – it would have to follow an even longer and more tortuous route than it does now, effectively downgrading our service to Stonehouse and Stroud. It does not operate in the evenings.
- Altogether this bus service is unlikely to be an attractive proposition for many football fans or local commuters.
- Walking and cycling would only be viable from a limited number of starting points, given the high traffic volumes on the A419
4. Rural Character of Eastington, and the Cotswold ANOB.
- The Eastington NDP – now enacted into Law – gives us the RIGHT to have our local character respected. A football stadium is totally at odds with our existing tranquil and rural character. It is not a feature of a working, living countryside.
- The massive stadium would be visible from many parts of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
(Note that because of the NDP any planning appeal will automatically become a decision for the Secretary of State – the very person responsible for for signing off the plans.)
5. The A419 is a gateway into Stroud
The district is rural in nature and this approach should not be clogged up with a football stadium along one side and the ‘urban-sprawl’ of industrial type development along the other. (however ‘green’!)
From Jn 13 all the way through to Brimscombe Port, there would scarce be a green field left.
6. Violating the Strategic Objectives of the Stroud Local Plan – The effect on other areas within the district that need employment
6.1. Strategic Objective SO2 : “Providing for a strong, diverse, vibrant local economy that enables balanced economic growth……..across the District”
- This proposal is the opposite of “diverse” and “balanced” – a honeypot site sucking in commuters at enormous infrastructure cost
- The strategically planned, balanced and genuinely more sustainable employment sites for Cam and Dursley, Berkeley/Sharpness, Hardwicke/Hunts Grove and Stonehouse would all lose out if potential employers are enticed to this huge, non-strategically placed site.
6.2. Strategic Objective SO5: “maximising the re-use of buildings”…and “Promoting the use of ……. brownfield land”
- This proposal would clearly hinder this objective, by building on greenfield land and disadvantaging potential equivalent brownfield development
6.3. Stroud Town would lose hundreds of sustainably located jobs if Ecotricity moved its operation (and probably it’s HQ) to this site – where it is likely to attract commuters from Bristol.