The news today is that we have lost the fight to save the last green space between Stroud and Stonehouse from Barratt Homes’ plan for 105 new homes on Fox’s Field at Ebley. This is outrageous.
Photo; pic of one of the local householders
This is following an appeal inspector’s decision - a decision that ignores much - not least that Foxes Field is a vital green space separating the identities of Stroud and Stonehouse.
It is reported, that the appeal inspector Barry Juniper found, that the houses should be permitted because the Stroud District Council local planning authority could not demonstrate a five year supply of housing land without them. Mr Juniper also concluded the hundred homes would not have a materially adverse impact on the AONB. This is astonishing and I plan to follow up - why cannot we demonstrate a 5 year supply?
Furthermore this permission overturns our Local Plan - does this mean now every other field is open to development???!
Here is the Cabinet Member for Planning, at Stroud District Council, Barbara Tait's comment: “We are shocked by this decision and the inspector’s justification. It completely contradicts the Government’s acceptance of our five-year housing land supply figures from only a year ago. These were put under the microscope at the time and accepted – hence this decision seems somewhat perverse. The inspector appears to have based his analysis on old housing delivery figures dating back to 1991 rather than the much more recent Regional Spatial Strategy figures. This decision could have serious implications for the council’s ability to protect green field sites. It’s a bad one, and we are currently looking at our options, one of which is to challenge the decision in High Court. If the Hunts Grove development had not been delayed by the unnecessary public inquiry, it is likely that developers would have had sufficient opportunities to build homes in agreed specified locations instead of looking for new and undesirable locations, like this one.”
I hope the High Court option is taken forward - One issue we have discussed before at the Water Forum is that this development carries with it the proposal to pipe the surface water from the housing estate - including presumably the run off from Doverow hill as well - under the Ebley road, across agricultural land, under the Stroudwater canal and then directly into the Frome just upstream of Bridgend. The inquiry officer stipulated that the run off from this site be calculated and the pipe from it designed accordingly in discussion between the developers and SDC. Without serious care we could be adding to downstream flood risks significantly.
See here, here and here for previous blogs on this issue.