Stroud District Councillors’ Report

April 2019

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

SDC Matters

Local Government Association (LGA) Peer Group Review of SDC. (Cllr Tucker)

Following an invite by Chief Executive, Kathy O’Leary, 7 members of the LGA Challenge Team visited Ebley Mill on 26th -29th March to carry out a peer review. The outcome of the review is now available and can be viewed at:

In summary, the Review found that SDC was a ‘good Council ready to tackle challenges and support communities’ and ‘has the potential to become one of the best in the country’. They noted that members, senior officers and staff are passionate about the district and want to actively shape how the council best operates to serve its residents. They were particularly impressed by the council’s waste and recycling service which Defra rates as the best in the south west.

Stroud Subscription Rooms. (Cllr Butcher)

The ownership of The Sub Rooms transferred from SDC to Stroud Town Council and The Subscription Rooms Trust without a hitch. The SRT are now making a few changes to the Sub Rooms to suit their new programme and intentions for the venue. n the 28th March. The cost saving to SDC will be around £260,000/annum.

Local Tourism Funding. (Cllr Tucker)

After intervention, Wotton has received £2000 for its share of the District’s 7 Market Towns Local Tourism Funding and is no longer reliant on working with adjacent Towns in order to receive their Grant. Meetings between WTC and the Heritage/Tourist Centre have been held to discuss/agree on how this funding should be spent. Updating local tourism maps is one option.

Lloyds Pharmacy, Wotton. (Cllr Tucker)

The service is still improving, with much reduced queues and better stock levels. However, we are still awaiting the appointment of a permanent pharmacist, which Lloyds are apparently ‘pursuing with vigour’. It was September 2018 when the last full-time pharmacist left. Cllr Tucker continues his progress dialogue with the Chief Exec, Toby Anderson.

Ashen Plains Camp Site, North Nibley. (Cllr Tucker)

Following a refusal by an SDC Hearing Panel in March, to sell alcohol every day of the week, the owners have now submitted a planning application to regularise previously constructed buildings and the use of new for events. Again, Parish and District Councillors and residents think this is unreasonable on many grounds and appropriate representations have been made to SDC Planning Dept.

Ground works at Waterley Bottom, North Nibley. (Cllr Tucker)

A belated planning application has been received by SDC. As the work was started before any contact with SDC, there is now no right to have a pre-application discussion with planning officers. Cllr Butcher and I are supporting residents and the Parish Council in their oppositions.

Climate Emergency

Local Climate Action Groups are being set up across the District, with the support of Transition Stroud to respond to the Climate Emergency and to support SDC’s commitment to become a carbon neutral district by 2030.

A meeting will be held to discuss a new Climate Action Group for Wotton and our local area on 26 June, at Wotton Green Drinks in The Star Inn from 8 pm. All welcome - contact Cllr Braun for more information.

SDC Full Council Meeting (25 April)

SDC resolved to adopt the Co-operative Party’s Charter against Modern Slavery – and to ensure that SDC procurement practices don’t support slavery.

SDC resolved to:

SDC Community Services and Licencing (Cllr Tucker) – No meeting in April 2019.

SDC Environment Committee. (Cllr Butcher) – No meeting in April 2019.

I have been working with Tenant Services to help solve a problem with a tenant’s leaking flat. Had numerous phone calls with Carl Mason (Repair & Voids Manager), but the situation is not yet resolved. I have expressed concerns about tenant's current living situation and will continue to monitor.

I have met with the Refuse Team several times about issues with recycling collections.

SDC Housing Committee (Cllr Braun) – 9th April 2019

One change will be to re-brand and re-categorise the existing SDC sheltered housing schemes to be a range of Independent Living accommodation which better reflects the housing that SDC provides, as extra care facilities are not provided (see below).

These changes will be made over a number of years and will involve consultation with residents. As schemes are re-categorised, the service charge for each scheme may be reviewed to reflect the changes, for example with lower service charges where there are fewer communal areas. General council properties that are suitable for older people (e.g. bungalows) would be associated to the Independent Living schemes to allow their residents to benefit from the services.

SDC Planning Review Panel (Cllr Tucker) – 16th April 2019.

The main topic of discussion was again The Emerging Local Plan, which, in part, is aiming to allocate land to build 12000+ homes between now and 2040. Each of the political parties have had their inputs and well as members of the public and local councils. Following a tour on the 23rd April of the larger sites being put forward by developers, there is now much more (political) agreement of where such developments should go. A very large site at Whaddon, which is in Stroud District, has be highlighted by a planning inspector to meet the needs of Gloucester City! We are deciding how to approach this bizarre conundrum, and should we decided not to ‘fight’ the case at a planning hearing/appeal, then there are some alternative provisions in place to replace Whaddon, but these have yet to have full agreement across all parties.

SDC Strategy & Resources Committee (Cllr Tucker) – 11th April.

An update on the progress of the exciting development at Brimscombe Port was unfortunately postponed until the next meeting, so that more detailed information could be presented to Councillors.

The Housing Revenue Account for 2019-20 was approved.

A report on Performance Monitoring was presented and was well received.

Approval for both the proposals and costs for ‘In-sourcing’ the repairs and maintenance service proposals and costs for temporary accommodation provision in Stroud District were agreed.

Other Agenda items are reported elsewhere.

Meetings attended by Cllr Tucker:

Meetings attended by Cllr Braun:

Meetings attended by Cllr Butcher.