“We all have been shocked and saddened by recent events in Israel and Palestine, the awful brutal violence and loss of life especially of so many children. There may be people within our district who have been personally affected, so I would like to express on behalf of the council our greatest sympathies for them.” These were the words of our Chair of Council, Cllr Doina Cornell at the start of the full council meeting last Thursday, ahead of a moment of quiet reflection, in solidarity with all those affected, and those holding vigils in Stroud district and across the world, for peace in the middle east.
It was a long meeting, with discussion on support for swifts, the Local Plan and budget strategy amongst other issues. Starting with the budget, I’m pleased to report that, thanks to careful management, we are in a strong financial position in Stroud district and will be able to maintain all local services for the next few years. This contrasts with many councils who are facing serious financial problems and are having to cut valued local services.
Moving onto the examination in public of our draft Local Plan, I reported to council that we are responding to questions from the Planning Inspectors on transport issues. Within the limitations of the current planning system, we all recognise that it is much better to have a local plan, to control where development happens, and to secure community and infrastructure benefits, rather than seeing speculative developments approved on appeal, to meet the nationally-set housing targets.
Finally, there was an excellent debate about swifts, whose numbers have significantly declined over recent years. We welcomed the work undertaken by the council officers to require swift bricks and boxes where it is possible to do so, and to develop new habitat guidance."
Leader, Stroud District Council