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 currently 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”
- Until any changes made in 2021, this site is NOT so designated and MUST therefore be considered inappropriate for all types of development.
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. The updated proposal has mitigated this objection very slightly, but it still represents a great disturbance to these vulnerable children. The construction period alone will cause difficulties and is expected to be two to three years
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. After all FGR already HAVE a football stadium!
- 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’
- It is expected that the presence of WoS will dilute this argument, however, surely it is grossly unfair to us to deny us the values and principles embodied in OUR Local Plan just because we have ALREADY had to compromise for the greater good.
Most of us know what junction 13 is like and what it is like trying to get to/from Stonehouse or Stroud on a bad day. It really only takes the slightest upset to clog the whole A419 up and this can only get worse as the WoS development progresses. This proposal would clearly further increase the traffic, apparently (for now!) only on Saturday afternoons and some Tuesday evenings, but we have no guarantee that that will remain the limit of the problem!
- 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 when tings go wrong.
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.
- The proposal alleges that a ‘relationship’ with Stagecoach will apply, and special busses made available but no details are provided
- Walking and cycling would only be viable from a limited number of starting points and is not likely to account for a huge percentage of the overall mix.
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 and the Cotswolds
- The Ecotricity proposal document says “ The stadium, whilst sensitively responding to its rural surroundings in both form and appearance, is a once in a generation opportunity to create a landmark building at this ‘gateway’ to Stroud.”
- Really!!!!!??????? A space-age looking 5000 seater football stadium (and acres of carparks (unused most of the time) is a wholly inappropriate ‘gateway’ to the rural District of Stroud, the rich heritage of the Stroud valleys and the Cotswold AONB
- From Jn 13 all the way through to Brimscombe Port, there would scarce be a green field left.
6. Claims made in the proposal for compliance with the Local Plan objectives are simply untrue.
6.1 They say “the Revised Scheme is fully compliant with Core Policy 15 and all the criteria of Delivery Policy EI11 of the adopted Development Plan, along with policy EP4 of the Eastington Parish CouncilNeighbourhood Plan. “
Core Policy 15 (A Quality Living and Working Countryside) actually says
“In order to protect the separate identity of settlements and the quality of the countryside(including its built and natural heritage), proposals outside identified settlement development limits will not be permitted except where:
1. It is essential to the maintenance or enhancement of a sustainable farming or forestry enterprise within the District; and/or
2. It is essential to be located there in order to promote public enjoyment of the
countryside and support the rural economy through employment, sport, leisure and
3. It is a ‘rural exception site’ where housing development is appropriate, sustainable,
affordable and meets an identified local need; and/or
4. It is demonstrated that the proposal is enabling development to maintain a heritage
asset of acknowledged importance; and/or
5. It is a replacement dwelling; and/or
6. It will involve essential community facilities.”
- This site IS outside identified settlement development limit, and even under point 2 or 6 above, this development cannot be considered ‘essential’ by any stretch of the imagination; – it is purely for the benefit of a small football club which has a close-to-5000 seater stadium already!
6.2 They say “the Revised Scheme is fully compliant with Core Policy 15 and all the criteria of Delivery Policy EI11 of the adopted Development Plan, along with policy EP4 of the Eastington Parish CouncilNeighbourhood Plan. “
Delivery Policy EI11 actually says:
“Planning applications for new sports, cultural, leisure and recreational
facilities, or improvements and extensions to existing facilities, will be
1. the proposals are connected to and associated with existing
facilities, they are located at a site that relates well to the
settlement hierarchy in the District or they are intended to meet
specific rural needs that cannot be appropriately met at
settlements within the settlement hierarchy
2. the development would not harm the character, appearance and
amenities of the area
3. the development can be made readily accessible to adequate
bus, cycling and walking links, for the benefit of non-car users
4. cycle/vehicle access and on-site cycle/vehicle parking would be
provided to the adopted standards
5. adequate access to and between the facilities would be provided
for people with disabilities”
- This proposal might comply with conditions 4 and 5 but it is hard to see how it complies with any of the more important ones above!
- In particular, the Local Plan document clarifies “EI10 and EI11 are designed to encourage the provision and growth of sport, leisure,recreation and tourism enterprises in accessible locations across the District, particularly within First and Second Tier settlements, according to the hierarchy set out in CP3.” Nailsworth is Tier 2; Eastington is Tier 3.
6.3. They say “the Revised Scheme is fully compliant with Core Policy 15 and all the criteria of Delivery Policy EI11 of the adopted Development Plan, along with policy EP4 of the Eastington Parish Council Neighbourhood Plan. “
Policy EP4 actually says:
“New development that is in accordance with POLICY EP1 will be supported where …………..”
and POLICY EP1 says unequivocally “Development outside the West of Stonehouse allocation should take place within the settlement boundary of Alkerton as defined on Map 1. Development in other hamlets and the countryside should accord with Local Plan Policy CP15”
…. see 6.1 above!!!