BaSRAG thoughts on the Council’s additional housing sites consultation

Stroud District Council is conducting a new consultation about the Local Plan. In summary, they are asking the public their views on –

  • What approach they should take if they are required by government to build even more houses than currently planned (or if some sites already earmarked get removed from the process at a later stage)
  • More specific sites that have come forward since the last consultation

The full consultation paper together with background papers and Powerpoint presentations can be seen at the council’s website – https://www.stroud.gov.uk/localplanreview 

We of course hope you will take the time to read the consultation document and let the council know what you think about it. You can write, email or complete their online questionnaire.

The questionnaire asks you first what you think about four possible approaches they could take when deciding how and where to provide additional housing. Those options are, broadly –

  • A. To build more intensively on sites already identified close to existing larger urban centres
  • B. Look for more sites at the smaller towns and larger villages
  • C. A new growth point for a large settlement – similar to the one proposed for ‘Sharpness Vale’ but more sustainably positioned. Two potential locations have been identified along the A38 corridor and close to the motorway.
  • D. Wider dispersal amongst smaller villages, as well as those identified under option B.

We strongly believe that a hybrid approach combining option A and Option C is the best one as it is entirely consistent with our argument that any development should be sustainable in terms of employment and transport links. Increasing densities at sites adjacent to existing urban areas and the new potential growth points further up the A38 and closer to Gloucester and Cheltenham tick those boxes far more than 5,000 houses built on the banks of the Severn, remote from any significant employment opportunities or major transport links.

The online questionnaire is a bit less complicated than those produced at previous stages of this process. It asks you first for your opinions on the four possible options as outlined above. It then goes on to ask about specific sites that have come forward since the last iteration of the Plan. These include two smallish sites in Berkeley.

We shall be strongly supporting the intensification of sites close to existing urban centres and new growth point developments at Whitminster and Moreton Valence.

The council asks that we do not repeat arguments that we have made at previous stages of this process; however, a positive support of different, better positioned, more sustainable growth points succinctly emphasises how unsuitable Sharpness is!

Whether or not the current government plans to increase housing numbers go ahead, these options are a much better alternative to the proposal to build houses in such huge numbers at ‘Sharpness Vale’.

The final part of the questionnaire asks for your comments on the Sustainability Appraisal which is a 127 page document commissioned to analyse the suitability (or otherwise) of the approaches and sites discussed in the current consultation. If you read the entire document – congratulations! Whether you choose to comment on it in the questionnaire is entirely optional.

The consultation runs until 16th December.

Finally, and as a bit of an aside, those eagle-eyed readers of the consultation document may notice that the basic maps shown alongside the main strategy options have got the rail link from Sharpness drawn in. Obviously, this is intended to make Sharpness appear more sustainable, but to rely on a link which won’t exist for at least 20 years if at all is, in our view, quite outrageous!

If you have any queries or need any help, please get in touch at contact@basrag.com  

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