20 Nov 2015

Historic moment as local plan adopted for Stroud district

Ruscombe Valley now better protected
At a meeting held last night at Ebley Mill, councillors adopted the Stroud District Local Plan, a strategic housing and employment plan which will shape the district’s future for decades to come. Stroud District is the first council in Gloucestershire to have an up-to-date local plan in place and will allow us to plan where development should take place rather than fight off speculative applications where it shouldn’t.

In recent years councils across the country have found it difficult to defend against large housing applications in areas they did not consider suitable, when they have not had a local plan in place. The Government knew this when they changed the rules around planning - effectively creating almost a free-for-all for developers. They knew over half of Councils don't have a Local Plan and due to the way the process is set up cannot speed them any quicker.

The Stroud District Local  Plan, which encourages at least 11,400 homes to be built over the 25-year period between 2006 and 2031, identifies how many homes should be built and their locations. The number includes over 7,700 homes which have already been built or have planning permission and 4,200 homes to be developed on sites identified in the plan.  On average, 470 homes need to be built each year over the next 16 years to accommodate the expected needs of the district. It also supports the development of 58 hectares of employment land over the plan period to meet local job forecasts and identifies a range of new sites to meet business needs. Again the framework for this is all set by Government.

Planning inspector, Steven Pratt, who approved the council’s plan before it was passed to councillors to adopt, confirmed that it showed a seven year supply of housing land, meaning that the council would be right to prevent further uncontrolled development in rural areas. He also supported the council’s strategy of concentrated growth in towns, which will see valuable infrastructure and community facilities accompany any major development.

The Green Party's Councillor Simon Pickering, chair of the Stroud District Council Environment Committee said: ‘Adoption of the plan is great news allowing us to plan effectively for future growth. The draft plan involved some difficult choices, meaning that not everyone was going to be happy with the outcome. Now that it has met the demands of the government and been approved it’s time to get behind it and make the best out of the housing and employment opportunities it will bring forth.”

Clearly there has been much compromise to make this happen - this is clearly not all what Greens have wanted! Do look back through this blog to see earlier reports and submissions as part of the Local Plan process. The locations and numbers of future housing development within the plan are as follows:

Location and Number of Homes

Hunts Grove Extension 750

North East Cam 450

Sharpness 300

Stroud Valleys 450

West of Stonehouse 1,350

Council Housing Programme 150

Dispersal / windfall 750

Total allocations and windfall 4,200

The Stroud District Local Plan can be viewed at www.stroud.gov.uk/localplan

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