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Canals Strategy for Stroud District

Stroud District Council has prepared a long-term vision and strategy for the future use of the canals within the District.

The Council’s Environment Committee adopted the Canals Strategy as a Supplementary Planning Document on 4 October 2022.


The Canals Strategy sets out how the Council, our partners, communities and landowners can work together to deliver improvements to make better use of our canals for culture, recreation and leisure, to support the local economy and to enhance our environment and local wildlife.

The canals include the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal (running from Hardwicke in the north of the District to Sharpness in the south), and the two Cotswold Canals (from Saul Junction in the west, to Chalford in the east).

The Canals Strategy has been adopted as a design focussed Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to supplement the canal policy ES11 contained within the adopted District Local Plan.

The Canals Strategy contains:

  • A long term vision for the District’s canals described by means of 3 overarching ‘Drivers of Change’ by which the canal network can maximise its social, economic and environmental benefits.
  • 14 Canal Strategy Areas by which the network can be analysed based on a layering of physical characteristics, function and policy.
  • 14 Placemaking Frameworks which identify ways in which each Canal Strategy Area could be improved to fulfil its role within the canal network.
  • Ingredients of the Future Place which identify a series of interventions suggested to improve the canals network and to support the delivery of each of the place making frameworks.

The Canals Strategy will complement and support longer term schemes relating to the Heritage Lottery restoration project that is unlocking a lost section of the Cotswold canals corridor between Saul Junction and Eastington.

The Canals Strategy includes, amongst other things, guidance on design, land uses and transport and potential physical projects for all areas of the canal network.

As it has been adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document, canal users, landowners and developers will need to take account of the strategy if they are preparing any plans within the canal corridors which require planning permission.

The Canals Strategy also provides the platform to make effective future funding bids to Government and other funding bodies.

The Canals Strategy has been prepared taking into account existing policy documents, the results of site assessments and the views of stakeholders and members of the public.

Consultation on a Draft Canals Strategy ran between 21st February 2022 and 27th May 2022. The Council received 115 representations.

A Consultation Report was prepared which summarises the engagement and consultation undertaken on the document, sets out a summary of all responses received and provides a Council response to the issues raised. The Report also sets out changes to be made to the Draft Strategy as a result of public consultation.

What are the Canals Strategy documents?

The Canals Strategy SPD comprises a single document (split here into two due to file size) 

 A number of supporting documents have been prepared which provide further information on the Canals Strategy and the process followed: 

  • Evidencing the Strategy – sets out the documentation and stakeholder views which have contributed to developing the strategy
  • Summary of Public Online Survey – sets out a summary of the responses made during the online public survey including key challenges and strengths identified for each of the canal strategy areas
  • Piloting the Strategy in the Wallbridge Area – applies the strategy to the Wallbridge area of Stroud, to both test the appropriateness of the strategy and to design, identify and select ingredients to implement the vision for this particular area
  • Project Delivery Process Tool – a spreadsheet to help identify and select future projects to deliver the strategy
  • Canals Strategy wallchart – a summary version of the Canals Strategy which can be pinned to a wall for ease of reference 


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