Answers on a postcard…

 

Forest Green Rovers (and/or associates) have apparently plied their supporters with a postcard  ‘form’ on which to express support for the Ecotricity scheme by ticking boxes, as below and sending in to SDC.  You can see them  on the  Stroud planning website   (search ref: S.16/0043/OUT) – they will count as letters of support.

You may wish to write to counter these arguments – which is not too hard to do! – Go on to the website above, or write to the Planning Office at Ebly Mill and quote the reference S.16/0043/OUT.

Read on to see some of their points and our answers….

They say the development will:-

  • Provide a long-term home for our local football club (FGR) and a platform to progress up the Football League.
  • We say 
    •  It is not ‘our’   local football club.    
    •  Winning football matches does not give you any special rights under planning law!
    • The existing FGR stadium is only 6 years old!
    • We believe that there are other possible locations, where it would be genuinely sustainable and accessible to all by public transport, and that no serious attempt has been made to investigate these.

 

  • Enable the development of an important employment site, a unique opportunity to create up to 4,000 jobs in Stroud District.
  • We say:
    • Untrue – many of these jobs will not be ‘new’ at all – they will be sucked in from Stroud and other centres within the district as firms ‘upgrade’ – and  the older premises left behind may well be abandoned instead of regenereated.  Regeneration is a key theme in the Local Plan.
    • Ecotricity itself will take 500 jobs out of Stroud – a heavy blow to the town centre.
    • Stroud has already documented an adequate land supply for business development, distributed throughout the district, where it is actually needed. – at Hunts Grove, Cam, Dursley, Sharpness and  The Stroud Valleys  – Not to mention the ‘new’ allocation of 10 Hectares at in this area that comes along with the Wos Development itself.
    • This site  is NOT an ‘important employment site’ to be developed – it is unspoilt green fields not ‘planned’ for development at all.

 

  • Generate annual business rates of up to £2.7million for Stroud District Council, year on year.
  • We say:   
    • Untrue – this will not be ‘new money’ – (Could they really fill all those  buildings from OUTSIDE the area .i.e. from those not already paying rates to Stroud and not already in the Plan, as above?)). 
    • And would  old business premises  in Stroud be left to ‘die’ instead of being regenerated, what is the cost there?
    • In any case,  the cost of the inevitable chaos on our roads and the cost to our environment, to the very nature of Stroud let alone Eastington, must be weighed heavily against any new income.

 

  • Enable the improvement of public transport and cycle routes.
  • We say
    • ‘Enable !???’  ‘Improvement???’ (hardly required without adestination!)
    • The local (half hourly) bus services (61/66)  are already due to be modified for the benefit of the WoS development, which may benefit the ‘Eco park’ – BUT there are no plans for a specific Park and Ride as was originally suggested.
    • Leisure cycleways along the canal are already part of the Stroudwater ‘complete and connected’ project.

 

  • Improve the local environment, creating a nature conservationarea covering 4.6ha, therefore supporting policies ES6 and ES8 of the Stroud District Local Plan. (4.6 Ha is about 10 acres)
  • We say: 
    • How does building all over our green fields improve the local environment?
    • ‘Create a nature conservation are ?!!!’  The WHOLE area IS already effectively a nature conservation area now, not just a tiny corner of it,!!  We would be LOOSING a 100 acres of green fields.
    • The spirit of ES6 is that natural features, such as wildlife corridoors should be protected where threatened by ‘necessary’ development. Similarly ES8 relates to minimising loss of hedgerow and trees – the best way is to not remove them at all.  To selectively quote these specific policies is cynical and misleading – Being obliged to ‘mend’ anything you break is not supposed to encourage you to break it in the first place

 

  • Provide the community with access to state-of-the-art sports and educational facilities.
  • We say: 
    • OK, but at what cost.  Our little community will not keep it going – everyone else will come in their car, clog up our roads and pollute our air.
    • The project is too far from centres of population and transport links to be sustainable
    • It is apparently only for football.  The provision for athletics seems to have been removed from the original plan.  Sports England did not support the original application on the grounds that no strategic need was demonstrated.  They have since changed their mind but only in respect of the artificial football pitches.

 

  • Be entirely consistent with Stroud District Council’s Development Plan objectives as a whole.
  • We say
    • The above statement is simply NOT true
    • Some aspects of this development attempt to comply with some of the  ‘damage limitation’ objectives of the Local Plan. But with no damage, the limitation would not be required – the Local Plan objectives relate to necessary development – houses and businesses that are needed and  these are already in the plan.
    • the ‘green’ aspects of this proposal may be ‘consistent’ with the aims of the Plan – but that does not make it a necessary or strategic development!
    •  The immense SCALE of this development is simply NOT NECESSARY  – and as such it goes against the spirit and all the policies  in the plan that are designed to protect our local environment and respect our heritage.
    • In it’s ‘guiding principles’, the  Local plan emphasises regeneration of brownfield sites and focusing development in the larger population centres and pre-defined strategic sites.  Core policy CP2 of the plan says:
      “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.

 

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