Jo’s Article in June ECN

The “Eco Park” Development Proposal:

Personal reflections of a resident on why we should object.

 In January 2016 Ecotricity owner, Dale Vince, submitted an outline planning proposal for a major development  within the parish of Eastington, along the A419.

The proposal is for a 5000 seater football stadium with associated pitches, buildings  and car parks etc (B),    and the  ‘green technology  hub’  that is the business/industrial estate shown at (A).  The proposal also includes the small  ‘nature reserve’  at ( C).

When I first heard about this proposal I thought there wasn’t much that could be done about it and it was probably a done deal given the influential and wealthy local business man  behind it.

But in recent months my concern about this development has grown, spurred on by this photo which showed the fields that would be destroyed, and by a real concern for the health and well-being of the residents of William Morris College –  which would be significantly adversely impacted as soon as building commenced and would never improve.

The plans do look exciting on the surface, and I support anything which promotes the green and sustainable agenda. However there are many reasons, legal and ethical, why this proposal shouldn’t be agreed and that local opinion should be voiced.

I have recently reviewed all the documents that are available for public view on the Stroud District Council Planning website and I am now fully against this development at the site that is proposed.

Click here to see the detailed results of my findings, but in summary:-

The questions and thoughts which have spurred me on to become more active in challenging it is this:

  • Having read the Local Plan and other documentsthere isn’t much evidence to suggest another  new business park is needed. If this is built then other established business parks could lose business; areas earmarked across the whole of the district for development probably won’t progress (Cam, Sharpness etc).  It might also suck life-blood from Stroud itself.
  • If a new stadium is needed and if thesustainability agenda is to be maintained, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to develop on a brownfield site? This would be more in keeping with the ethos and vision Dale Vince has for Forest Green Rovers and for his business and would avoid ruining 100 acres of green fields forever.
  • Has sufficient research into more appropriate sites been conducted?  Are there sites more accessibleby established public transport links? Closer to population centres and services.?
  • The plans at the moment look like “greenwash”. This is media spin pretending that they are environmentally friendly when fundamentally they aren’t.

By objecting are we just being  NIMBY(Not in my backyard) protesters ?

 My view is that the parish took an environmental hit back in the 1970s when the M5 was built straight through our backyard. The community has had to fight further development because of this ever since.

The site is prominent from many public viewpoints; short and long range.  The area is intrinsic to the Severn Vale and the Cotswold escarpment is very obvious on the skyline. The site is visible from outward views from the Cotswold escarpment, including Doverow Hill, Haresfield Beacon, Selsley Common, Coaley Peak and Cam Long Down and could be visible from the Forest of Dean AONB;

therefore it is not only “our backyard” that will be effected.

 

Whatever the supposed benefits to Nailsworth and/or to Stroud District, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the proposed development on this site would have a very dramatic effect on the nature of Eastington, and the lives of it’s residents if allowed to proceed.

If we want to retain anything of the tranquil and rural character of our Parish we must ACT to let Stroud District know what is important to us.  The Local Plan forced the WoS development on us as a strategic necessity, but the payoff was supposed to be protection for our countryside as a whole, as well as respect for the character of our individual and historic settlements.

This is happening on our watch, let’s not let future generations down.

How can you play your part?

It is important for every single one of us who objects to formally voice that objection to the Planners – as 160 of us have already done. Absolutely everybody is entitled to comment and to offer good reasons why the application should be refused.   ‘Good’ reasons include things like the increased traffic, noise, air pollution, loss of amenity and violating the Local Plan.  See the KER website for some examples if you have not done this sort of thing before.

We can also try to stop Dale Vince’s ‘mind game’ campaign where he keeps talking up the project as if it were a done deal.  It absolutely is not. We must make this crystal clear in all our social media posts and always, always, always correct anyone who speaks of the proposed stadium or business park as though they were certainties!

So, please, if you want to protect our green fields, the nature of our village and our roads:-

  • Lodge a planning objection;  use  this link,  it is quick and easy.
  • Or, if you prefer, write to The Planning Office, Ebley Mill, Stroud
    • quoting ref   S.16/0043/OUT .
  • Be clear that you are objecting not just commenting!
  • Get active on social media ( facebook, website,twitter) – contest anything which suggests this is a done deal.
  • Register a skill or time commitment to “Keep Eastington Rural” through the welcome page

 

Together we can 

“Keep Eastington Rural”

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