Stroud District Councillors’ Report

December 2019

Full Council Meeting - 19 December

New Strategic Directors

You will be aware that we have already appointed 3 new Strategic Directors to head up our forward-looking Council, with the aim of becoming an ‘exemplar’ authority, as advocated by last year’s external review. Short-listing for the remaining post occurred on 2 December and 4 applicants were then invited to attend for interview on 16 December. Following a full day of presentations and interviews, the selection panel unanimously agreed to offer the post of Strategic Director of Communities to Keith Gerrard. Once in place, I have already agreed to organise a tour of the local area for the new Directors (similar to that for the new CEO) and will involve Town & Parish Clerks and Councillors as previous. (Cllr Tucker)

Forest Green Rovers new stadium planning application

A pre-application event for councillors was held on 17 December, ahead of the Development Control committee meeting where members were given an update on the revised application, including new noise assessments, traffic volumes, car parking revisions, community use of the venue and ‘park and ride’ proposals. A model of the stadium and whole site proposals was available for discussion. Dale Vince, the Chairman of Forest Green Rovers (and Ecotricity) was present to answer questions.

The development will be at the M5 junction 13, west of Stonehouse, Eastington, for a new 5000-capacity football stadium with one full-sized grass pitch and one full-sized all-weather pitch and a goal practice area. The development will include car parking for cars and coaches and highway improvements to A419 including a signalised site junction and combined cycle/footway (ref: S.19/1418/OUT).

On 18 December, the Development Control Committee held a long committee meeting to decide this planning application. Following full scrutiny of the application, the revised proposal was passed by 6 votes to 4. Eastington Parish Council are opposed to this development, and at a further, closed, meeting on 8 January, the Development Control Committee will discuss the SDC defence of Eastington’s appeal (agenda).

Strategy & Resources Committee - 17 December (Cllr Tucker)

Numerous agenda items were discussed, some in great detail, and the proposed resolutions were supported by all parties. The items discussed were:

In relation to Council Tax for Empty Properties – it was agreed (and subsequently supported by Council), that the Long Term Empty Property Premium (currently set at 50%) is increased to 100% from 1st April 2020 for those properties which have been empty for two years. From this date it will be increased to 200% from for those properties which have been empty for five years and over and to 300% for properties which have been empty for ten years or more. This higher rate is now permitted by Government legislation.

Further information can be found on the Committee meeting page.

Housing Committee - 10 December (Cllr Braun)

SDC In-house Repair Mobilisation Board - 18 December (Cllr Tucker)

Following the successful ‘in-house’ provision of our gas installation and servicing requirements in 2017, SDC are now also taking their housing stock repairs etc as an internal service from 1 April 2020.

It is estimated that this will save approx. £1.4m over the first 5 years and hopefully improve the sometimes questioned ‘customer service’. This transformation is being monitored by a board of SDC officers, councillors and external consultants. An improved numeric and visual Risk Register, requested by Cllr Tucker last October, is now proving very useful at better highlighting the areas on which we need to concentrate. Despite some remaining ‘High’ risks, mitigations are in place to reduce these to ‘acceptable’ by April. It is appreciated by all that such a large undertaking will not operate at 100% from day one, but the team are doing all they can to ensure a smooth transition. A new warehouse was needed to keep stock and provide a base for tradespeople and training etc. A new industrial unit has been rented (from SDC!) situated next to Dursley Vale Hospital. The addition of a mezzanine floor has started, and completion of the building is on target by the end of March.

Environment Committee - 5 December (Cllr James)

Due to the successful bid for funds to research tax incentives, a project worker is being recruited to support the Carbon Neutral Officer. Success in work plan development, formalisation of CN2030 structures, community coordination and good strategic engagement will underpin the progress of the next period. The report recommends, on the basis of experience from other councils, that work on a baseline for district carbon emissions should be focused on the SDC CN2030 work plan which is in development. Future action planning will be achieved in partnership with local communities on the basis of a shared vision and work areas, with clearly identified outputs, outcomes and deliverables. It was agreed that a cross party Round Table will be established.

The 4 new priorities are:

The ASR Report (here) addresses the air quality across the District in 2018. In broad terms, air quality experienced across the District is generally very good. Concerns are largely limited to areas of traffic congestion where consequent NO2 levels can approach or exceed Air Quality Objectives. There are 22 monitoring points across the District (here) measuring concentrations of NO2. Currently there are no points in the south of the District, but there has previously been monitoring in Wotton and monitoring points could be relocated if required due to traffic congestion. The increase in levels in 2018 is very likely to be due to a change in methodology by the labs rather than a significantly increased exposure. NO2 levels have been slowly declining across the District over the longer term, but are not reducing at a fast enough rate to meet carbon reduction targets. Further information can be found on the SDC website at

Local Plan Review Consultation

Consultation on the Draft Local Plan closes on Wednesday 22 January.

For more information on the Local Plan Review see:


Meetings attended by Cllr Tucker

2 Dec SDC Director Shortlisting review.

2 Dec North Nibley Parish Council meeting.

11 Dec SDC Political Group Leader’s meeting.

11 Dec SDC CEO appraisal preparation.

11 Dec Stinchcombe Parish Council meeting.

16 Dec SDC Director recruitment day.

17 Dec SDC Alliance Leader’s meeting.

17 Dec Forest Green Rovers: pre-application meeting for Councillors.

18 Dec SDC In-house repairs Mobilisation Board meeting.

18 Dec SDC DCC, Forest Green Rovers planning application.

19 Dec SDC Full Council.

Meetings attended by Cllr Braun

2 Dec Community Governance Review Mediation Session

2 Dec North Nibley Parish Council

10 Dec SDC Housing Committee

11 Dec Stinchcombe Parish Council

16 Dec Wotton Town Council

19 Dec SDC Full Council Meeting

Meetings attended by Cllr James

5 Dec Environment Committee

16 Dec Wotton Town Council

19 Dec SDC Full Council Meeting