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Our request for a pause in the Local Plan process has been approved


Government Planning Inspectors have agreed to Stroud District Council’s request for a short pause in the Local Plan process, which protects communities and the environment.

To ensure development happens in the most appropriate way, the Council asked in August for more time to address Planning Inspectors’ concerns.

This week the Inspectors agreed to a 10 month pause in the examination of the Local Plan. This will allow time for SDC to address Inspectors’ concerns around capacity of junctions 12 and 14 of the M5, public transport solutions at the proposed Sharpness new settlement, and the cost of a new pedestrian and cycle bridge over the M5 for the planned new settlement at Wisloe, between Cam and Slimbridge.

The council will now work through an Inspector-approved Joint Action Plan with its partners to find solutions for seven months, which will be followed by a public consultation later this year.

The Local Plan maps out where major developments will be built during the next 20 years. The Council must ensure there is sufficient supply of land for   housing and employment. If no plan is in place, the Council has less control over where development takes place. With much of the east of the district being part of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the west floodplain, options for new development are limited.

“Having a Local Plan in place is incredibly important for the district and I am grateful to the Inspectors for agreeing to our request,” said Council Leader Catherine Braun. “There has been extensive public consultation during the past four years and there will be another chance for the public to have their say later this year.

“We will work with the relevant parties to achieve a sound Local Plan, to ensure that we can control the location of housing, extent of economic growth and strengthen and adopt environmental protection.”

SDC Environment Committee Chair Chloe Turner added: “We will work collaboratively with partners to resolve capacity issues of the M5 at Junction 12 and Junction 14 – we can’t do this alone because we are not responsible for the strategic road network.”

The Stroud District Council draft Local Plan was submitted for examination to the Secretary of State in October 2021. Two Inspectors were appointed to examine the plan. Hearing sessions commenced in March 2023 and were paused in June 2023 to allow a summer break. The majority of the hearing sessions have already been held and have covered all site allocations and most of the policies set out in the draft Local Plan.

During the summer break, the Inspectors wrote to the Council on 4th August 2023 setting out concerns with three areas of soundness. The first issue was regarding the capacity of M5 Junctions 12 and 14. The second was specific issues with a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the motorway on grounds of viability and deliverability at Wisloe. The final issue identified was provision of a passenger train service and bespoke Mobility as a Service transport scheme (MaaS) and concerns relating to the viability and deliverability of these schemes at Sharpness.

However, in the same correspondence the Inspectors were also clear that, ‘whilst we have a number of other soundness concerns with the Plan, we are confident that it is likely that these could be addressed by main modifications’.

The Inspectors have now written to the Council confirming, ‘in light of the information now received, we can confirm that we agree to pause the Examination for the works to be undertaken. As requested in SDC’s most recent letter the pause will be for a duration of ten months. This comprises seven months to complete the work set out in the Joint Action Plan (JAP), as dated November 2023, and three months to undertake a period of public consultation. The pause shall begin on the date of this letter. The Examination shall therefore resume on 5 December 2024.’

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Background Information

Stroud District Council is led by a co-operative alliance of the Green, Independent Left, Community Independents and Liberal Democrat Groups. 

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