Stroud District Councillors’ Report

Sept 2018

Summary of SDC Wotton Ward Councillors’ Council meetings and local business.


SDC Matters



Stroud Subscription Room

The agreement between SDC and Stroud Town Council for them to take over the running of the Sub Rooms (through a new Trust set up to run the events and maintenance of the building and forecourt) has been delayed. The arrangements/agreements for transferring exiting employees under the TUPE rules has stalled, but a meeting to resolve the difference is arranged for 1st October. This means that the 28th September deadline for exchange of draft contracts has not been met. (Cllr Tucker)

https://www.stroud.gov.uk/news-archive/stroud-district-council-set-to-allow-extra-time-for-subscription-rooms-deal-to-stay-on-track



Local.

Bearlands, Wotton.

There has been much disquiet amongst local residents, the Town Council and others, regarding the recent developments at the entrance to Bearlands. The positioning of the new refuge cages has spoilt the eastern vista into our beautiful Town. The cost of the 6 bin cages and the bins themselves have cost SDC around £40000. However, installation costs of the concrete location pads and the current significant amount of access rectification work needed to them, means that the total will approach £60000. We should ask is this a good way to spend Council Tax payer’s money during the current government enforced austerity?

The reasons of why 2 trees were felled during this exercise are also under investigation.

There have been complaints about the levels of user noise and bad language from the new (SDC) playground area at the top of Bearlands. SDC Neighbourhood Wardens are now visiting the site to talk to the youngster and, in some cases, involving their parents. (Cllr Tucker)



Ashen Plains, Waterley Bottom.

District Councillors are working with North Nibley Parish Council with their and residents’ numerous and various complaints to SDC about events at Ashen Plains Camp Site. Some events appear to be exceeding both planning application agreements and licencing agreements. Support from SDC’s Environmental Heath team has been less than enthusiastic, in fact somewhat empathetically negative and in one case, clearly obstructional. SDC’s Planning Dept/EH appear to be taking the easy option by waiting for an application from the operator to regularise the extended use of this site. Whatever the outcome of any application (which I understand will be heavily contested), it is not acceptable that SDC simply sit on their hands and we will continue to lobby on behalf of the NN community.



Housing

Affordable housing

The District’s five year council house building programme is in its final phase with the last of 245 properties due to be completed next year. As Stroud District is one of the areas of the country with particularly high affordability pressure, the council is eligible to bid for additional borrowing to build more homes. SDC has submitted a bid for £6.3m to Government to build 49 additional new homes for rent and shared ownership, on top of the current programme. A decision is due in the autumn.


The Full Moon site in Wotton, where 10 new homes are currently being built, will be acquired by Two Rivers Housing association, and all the new homes on the site will be for shared ownership. Stroud District Council is contributing £190,000 to the scheme from its Affordable Housing Capital Programme, which comprises funding from the Stroud Homebuy Scheme and s106 commuted sums where developers have paid a contribution to the provision of affordable housing elsewhere rather than providing it onsite.


Housing strategy

The updated Private Sector Housing Renewal Policy was adopted following consultation with Parish and Town Councils and other organisations. This policy now gives greater priority to the private rented sector given the growth in this sector which is due mainly to the lack of affordable housing. The overarching Housing Strategy is currently being revised and will be discussed later this year.


Tenant involvement

Housing Committee supported a new ‘Neighbourhood Ambassador’ role for tenants to represent a designated community and work with SDC Tenant Services. An action plan to increase tenant involvement was also approved.


Homelessness

SDC is working in partnership with other authorities in Gloucestershire, and on 21 Sept an additional £270k was allocated by Government to support an existing social impact bond’ project in the county, for vulnerable homeless individuals with complex needs, which is delivered by the local provider P3.


Older person’s strategy

Cllr Braun is joining a task and finish group to look at what the next generation of older people will want and need from SDC housing.



Environment

The revision of the Stroud District Local Plan is well under way, with the 1st stage consultation process due to start before December. Although much work has been done by SDC’s Planning Strategy team, with contributions from a wide range of businesses and residents, it does not go before an inspector until late 2020 early 2021, so there are timely opportunities for resident and Town/Parish Councils to further contribute. Revised Government figures indicate that we now need to build over 12000 homes in the District before 2032. Similar pressures exist for Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Council (all of which have boundaries to SDC) and there are likely to be predatory approaches to encroach on land within Stroud District. Do we build a super city between Gloucester and Cheltenham and move the airport to Kemble? Do we build a new Garden City at Sharpness? Do we disperse new homes throughout the District (will not achieve the numbers its own)? It will need to be a combination of the options, but in what proportions?



Dursley Local Plan

The DNDP has been through two statutory consultations. Dursley Town Council undertook a presubmission consultation (Regulation 14) from 24th November 2017 to 12th January 2018 and the Council undertook a post-submission consultation (Regulation 16) from 15th June to 27th July 2018. Both consultations lasted no less than the six weeks as required by the regulations. Dursley Town Council considered the comments received during the Regulation 14 consultation and made changes to the plan. The comments received during the Council’s Regulation 16 consultation were provided to the examiner of the plan who considered them during the examination.

The committee resolved to progress the Neighbourhood Plan to referendum. The Officer outlined the above report and confirmed that the referendum would take place on 15 November 2018To accept all recommended modifications of the Examiner’s Report (Appendix A); 2. That the Dursley Neighbourhood Development Plan, as modified, meets the basic conditions, is compatible with the Convention rights, complies with the definition of a neighbourhood development plan (NDP) and the provisions that can be made by a NDP; 3. To take all appropriate actions to progress the Dursley Neighbourhood Development Plan to referendum in early December 2018.

BUDGET MONITORING REPORT

The Accountant outlined the report which focused on monies spent up to the end of the financial year and variations -/+ £20k. The UBICO overspend was drawn to Members’ attention.

Consultants had been commissioned to look into the costs the Council incurs from UBICO.

The garden waste scheme was being reviewed because it currently was unsatisfactory and not providing value for money

Meetings attended by Cllr Tucker:

Catherine


George



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