Stroud Civic Society’s News – occasional news items and reports on events.

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Have your say in the future of Stroud’s Heritage

Stroud District Council have recently announced an 8 week consultation period on A Heritage Strategy for Stroud District.  The Civic Society will be submitting views – and we would encourage everyone interested in Stroud to do so too.

The document, subtitled ‘Valuing our historic environment and assets’, is to become Supplementary Planning Advice, so it is essential to get all views on board!

You can take part between Thursday 13th July and Friday 15th September 2017. Details are in the downloadable pdf document available from the SDC website HERE.

SDC are particularly interested in;

  • whether the priorities and big issues identified within the document are the right things to focus on;
  • what options exist for tackling them;
  • any practical or financial implications; and
  • whether there are other options or opportunities that have been missed.

There is no structured consultation questionnaire – views can be sent by email, letter, or a response proforma from the website. Full details are in the first few pages of the document.

Updated to add: Stroud Civic Society will be responding to this document and would be pleased to incorporate any comments members may have on this issue in their reply.  Comments should be sent by post to our Chairman, Juliet Shipman at Apartment B,  Field House, Field House Gardens, Stroud, Glos GL5 2JX or email julietshipman@hotmail.com in time for us to respond before the end of the consultation period on 15th September.

Planning News: ‘Fone Revive’application turned down

The new shop front – for which planning permission was sought retrospectively.

The Society recently objected to a retrospective application by the owner of Fone Revive in Stroud High Street.  The business had recently completely remodelled the shop front with plastic fascias, out of keeping with the town centre and at odds with Conservation Area policy. The business owner had not applied for planning permission beforehand and so was applying retrospectively.

The Society’s objection is set out below:

The Civic Society wishes to object to these applications. Both Stroud Town Council and the District Council have produced guidelines for shopfront design and these applications do not appear to be in accordance with either document.

The colour of the shopfront is garish and disruptive, the lurid bright green and orange do not blend in with the pastel or heritage colours as recommended in contributing to the character of the area.

The materials: The shopfront is made of shiny plastic which appears incongruous amongst the wooden shop fronts of nearby shops. The SDC guide recommends wood plus stone and/or brick

The previous shopfront – fitting in with the local style with an elegnat wooden surround. Hopefully this material still exists under the plastic.

The Fascia: This should carry only the shops name and not be used for advertising, further there is advertising down the sides of the shop which is not acceptable. STC guide recommends painted fascia with traditional sign writing.

Corporate image: The national shops in the High Street, Vodafone, Millets and Superdrug have all modified their corporate shop designs to fit into the conservation area.

Finally Mr Turner suggests he will close his business if further changes are required but he is missing the point, attractive shop fronts attract shoppers, a cheap plastic shop front says this is a cheap down-market town.  Stroud deserves better!

On 17th July SDC refused consent – on the grounds that

The signage by virtue of its design and synthetic materials appears as visually intrusive, incongruous and as an inappropriate feature within the street scene causing undue harm to the character and appearance of the Stroud Town Centre (Extension 2008) Conservation Area. The illuminated signage is therefore contrary to paragraph 137 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Policy ES10 of the adopted Stroud District Local Planning, November 2015 and policy ZP1a of the Stroud Town Centre Neighbourhood Development Plan (Adopted).

Owlpen Manor visit, July 2017

At the end of a narrow lane, nestling under beech woods, lies Owlpen Manor and its church. It was a perfect day for our guided tour of the house and garden by the owner (since 1974), Sir Nicholas Mander.

Sir Nicholas came out to meet us after we had picnicked under the shade of umbrellas looking over to the gardens. He took us to the top of the garden where we had a clear view of the architecture of the house. United under three gables were the three phases of development, an east service wing of 15th century origin (with Georgian windows inserted later), a 16th century hall and the west wing with its wonderful storeyed bay window and a date stone of 1616.

He then swiftly led us inside while telling us the story of the rescue of the house from near collapse by Norman Jewson. Sir Nicholas went on to form a close friendship with Norman and the contents of the house reveal his enthusiasm for the Arts and Crafts movement.

Of special interest is the high backed settle by Sydney Barnsley which comes from Ernest Gimson’s own cottage at Pinbury and was bequeathed to Owlpen by Norman Jewson. Among the textiles, furniture, prints and plasterwork is a very fine steel grille by Alfred Bucknall.

The Mander family were great collectors and all sorts of treasures have found their way to Owlpen, including family portraits, 18th century embroideries, prints , books and porcelain. Outstanding too are the watercolour paintings of the house, done mainly between 1890 and 1933. These reveal the wonderful picturesque qualities of the interior with its low beams, leaded lights and elegant Georgian panelling, all enhanced with a rich collection of colourful rugs, cushions, tiles and textiles.

After tea in the medieval barn now known as the Cyder House we paid a visit to the nearby church, now richly decorated with tiles and mosaics from the famous firm James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars.

The firm had close links with Edward Burne Jones, William de Morgan and Philip Webb while Alfred Powell, the Arts and Crafts architect who lived for a time at Tunley was a relation.

A memorable visit to a house which has been so much admired over the years while a series of caring owners have preserved what H.J.Massingham called ‘this rare cotswold treasure‘.

Stroud Civic Society Navigates Canals!

An account of our meeting on Thursday 31st March, written by Sue Houseago.

Stroud Civic Society’s meeting on the 31st March in the Old Town Hall began with the AGM, which marks the end of its winter talks. Most auspiciously the last was to be about ‘Canals in the Landscape’ and was given by Tony Conder who set up the National Waterways Museum in Gloucestershire in 1988. As Stroudwater Navigation’s restoration project is in full swing, Tony’s talk of canals, their construction, and the resulting changes to the landscape, seemed particularly relevant. 

Juliet Shipman welcomed us all to the AGM, creating delighted laughter, when she announced that because of her house move she had very simply lost all her papers for the meeting! She did, however, say farewell to Guy Williams, praising him warmly for his work as Membership Secretary, and for being a willing, hard-working committee member. Amid clapping Juliet presented him with a box of wine.

She passed us on then to Tim Mars who, it turned out had produced an on-line pictorial ‘fly by’ of a year in the lives of Civic Society Members. His choice of colourful photographs evoked memories of splendid trips.- a Christmas ‘do’ at Tyntesfield; Swindon to see the building designed by Norman Foster for Renault in 1982; a trip to view St. Mary’s Church, Brownshill, to have a lecture on its splendid stained glass.

ThomasTelford, one of the great canal engineers, pictured with his innovate Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in the background

After enjoying our glasses of wine Tony Conder began his talk on ‘Canals in the Landscape’, explaining the physical challenges that canals presented to their engineers, and how these industrial constructions changed our countryside. Canals, as Tony showed us on a map, meander over all kinds of diverse landscapes and can get round most obstructions. The heart of the system is in the Black Country, and it was fascinating to see how canal engineers worked to adapt to the geography and geology of each area.

The Bridgewater Canal – named after its owner – the third Duke of Bridgewater – opened in 1761, and revolutionised transport by cheapening the cost of coal as factories appeared alongside it. We saw the moveable aqueduct which carries the Bridgewater Canal along to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, which has itself a staircase of locks. Norton Priory’s canal had to run through a lake in a Capability Brown landscape. We saw slides of castellations, spiral staircases – bridges above ground and tunnels below ground. Other large industrial industries followed the canals; Stourbridge, for example, had potteries and 20 famous glassworks, thus shops, houses and people began to settle around canals, and in the 1970’s canal towpaths began to be used for leisure activities. 

Barton Swing Aqueduct, carrying the Bridgewater Canal over the Manchester Ship Canal. This picture shows it in the open position.

Tony ended his fascinating talk dramatically, saying very simply that canals, having altered the landscape in so many ways, were rendered useless by the arrival of the railways in the 1870s.

Questions, and warm thanks followed, and I think every member of the audience felt a renewed respect for Stroudwater Navigation’s history and an added pleasure in watching its restoration.

P.S. Sadly the Cotswold Canals Trust’s recent Heritage Lottery bid for funding has not been successful. However a new and revised application will be submitted – for more information on this news click here.

‘The Cotswold House’ : Far More Than Just a House.

An account of our meeting on Thursday 25th February, written by Sue Houseago.

The front cover of the book

The authors of ‘The Cotswold House’, Tim Jordan and Lionel Walrond, arrived in Stroud Old Town Hall on the 25th February with a laptop, and all the necessary accoutrements to guide a full house of Civic Society members and others, on a virtual tour around a wide selection of glorious Cotswold Houses.

Having settled his co-author Lionel in a seat directly in front of him, (he was, we learned, a quick thinking accomplice in any moments of uncertainty), and having been introduced by the Civic Society’s Chairwoman Juliet Shipman, Tim began by asking a question. ‘Is there such a thing as an easily identified Cotswold house style?’ Fortunately, because we all nodded and shook our heads in disarray, it had been a rhetorical question. ‘No and Yes,’ Tim agreed, smiling, ‘because they change from century to century, as does the stone from one locality to another, varying in texture and colour from greyer on the south Cotswolds to more creamy in Painswick to deeper cream in Guiting to the ironstone tinge in the north of the region.’ Then’, he continued, ‘we have to consider the master masons’ unique decorated finials on gables and dormers and the local craftsmen who will all have added their own unique details, inside and out.’ 

A map from the book, showing the area covered

These geographical, social and historical factors, we learnt, all affect the changing architectural region styles of Cotswold houses through Tudor, Elizabethan, Jacobean to Classical Georgian, Victorian and Art and Crafts – all, Tim stressed, will have left their particular mark on the Cotswold House. We were glad when Tim projected a large, clear map identifying the whereabouts of the ‘Cotswolds’ which stretch from Cheltenham to Gloucester, Swindon, Oxford and Banbury. From soft lush rounded areas of the south west to the upland areas with shallow more stony soil. Most Cotswold houses were built below the hills for shelter, and many had timber frames. 

The cruck-framed house at Didbrook

Tim showed us a fine illustration of the earliest form of timber frame – a cruck framed cottage – one of a few left, which can be found 40 minutes away in Didbrook.  Next we were off to Bibury where we saw illustrations of wooden lintels. Most of the  houses were thatched and timber framed. ‘But how’ Tim interjected, ‘do we know that they were once thatched? Well, see that ledge on the chimney? That, plus the pitch of the roof are proof of original thatching.’ These cottages, we learnt, began as medieval stone barns, then, with the addition of dormers and chimneys, became weavers’ cottages and finally workers’ cottages. On we went to enjoy selected illustrated examples of many more cottages, farmhouses, manor houses, almshouses and parsonages. 

Tim’s  slides most eloquently kept pace with his talk, demonstrating and elaborating upon the varying features of the Cotswold house. I suspect many of us, dizzied by the variety and beauty of the houses ended up envying those lucky enough to live in these local houses with their many subtle signs of a fascinating historical heritage.  

Our chairwoman Juliet Shipman had everyone clapping in delight as she thanked Tim not just for his wonderful talk, but in such a rich showing of Cotswold houses, not one of which, had been visibly ‘enhanced’  by a modern extension. 

 

Plandemonium 2: The Language of the Planner – is it all just jargon?

Words by Sue Houseago.

On Thursday 28th January, Stroud’s Old Town Hall was again warmly lit and vibrant with anticipation, as Civic Society members and visitors awaited Rob Cowen’s second challenging talk ‘Plandemonium 2’.

After our Chairman, Juliet Shipman, welcomed us all, Tim Mars introduced our speaker through the extended metaphor of Rob and himself as institutionalised cell mates, to conjure up very effectively a picture of two Cambridge, fun loving, fast speaking young men, who contrived to use the vagaries of language to defeat the world.

Rob began his talk by making us laugh at Stroud’s local newspaper’s use of hyperbole to describe, among other subjects, the ‘absolute nightmare’ of a pair of aggressive swans making life a misery for residents living near them, one poor woman, we heard, ‘was afraid to go outside’.

However, the true focus of Rob’s talk, as he told me earlier, was to concentrate on the language of the planner, who uses, unlike the architect’s more ‘visual’ descriptions, ‘process’ to deal with the complexity of creating a successful development.

As a writer, cartoonist and director of the consultancy, Urban Design Skills, Rob would seem well qualified to comment on the foibles of a planner’s language. To add to his revelations about the latter’s cunning use of jargon, he drew much laughter with slides of often hard hitting cartoons. He was amused to add that in over 20 years of producing weekly cartoons in a planning magazine, he had discovered that the nastier they were, the more they were enjoyed!

Planning words, Rob continued, using his own jargon, ‘get professionalised’. For example, consultants were commissioned to come up with a new word for ‘sustainability’ and after two years’ struggle came up with – ‘sustainability’. Rob also told us delightedly, with an apposite cartoon, about a new word evolved in Canada – ‘Quax’ which described men shopping by bike. Another illustration, this time of a smug looking cat, illustrated the word ‘smog’. He then began to quote planning phrases like ”The window responds to the city, and the city responds to the window’, to show how planners expect words ‘to do it all for us’. 

Rob’s rapid talk took him from quoting Buckminster Fuller (an innovative American architect) to mention of the Prince of Wales, to illustrate his many diverse points. He showed, for example, how planning developers might use deceptive diagrams to reveal how easily four houses can be fitted into a space left by a bungalow.

Rob evoked a final, rather cynical laugh at the ‘inclusive’ sounding phrase – ‘Go and consult the Community’, which means, he explained; ‘I’d like to ask you about some questions offering meaningless choices about things that we have no power to do anything about anyway.

It seemed that Rob Cohen’s light-hearted and entertaining talk served the more serious purpose of alerting his audience to the linguistic deceptions of the planning world: offering through word play and cartoons, information which may help us to play the planner at his own game.

The Eco-Park meeting: media coverage and other matters

Words mostly by Tim Mars, with some added/edited by Jonathan Briggs

Media coverage of the meeting

Stroud News and Journal's coverage included a photograph of the meeting.

Stroud News and Journal's coverage included a photograph of the meeting.

Our November meeting to discuss and debate the Eco-Park proposals proved very popular, with the somewhat controversial concept attracting a lot of publicity before and after the event. The attendees included representatives from The Citizen, Stroud Life, Stroud News and Journal and BBC Radio Gloucestershire.

The resulting coverage was excellent and extensive, with Tim Mars’ press release mercilessly pillaged (which either reflects his excellent writing or some lazy journalism, or maybe both). This did mean, of course, that the background information published was mostly accurate. 

Stroud News and Journal ran a very extensive piece, with photo —though it did claim Simon Pickering was a member of Stroud Civic Society (he is, possibly, a lapsed member) and failed to include planning in Hugh’s title (not to mention chocolate hobnobs…). You can read that here.

Stroud Life‘s coverage also included a photograph of the meeting, which you can see here. This article generated an extremely thoughtful and well argued website comment (below the main article on the link above) pointing out that as the local telephone exchanges ‘have yet to be upgraded to provide even high speed broadband data, let alone the kind of telecommunications infrastructure that would be needed…it is hard to imagine the site being a draw for technology businesses.’ The writer also ridicules the idea of the EcoPark being a draw for tech and green tech businesses bearing in mind the countervailing attractions of the well-established Bristol and Bath digital cluster—the second largest digital employer in the UK, with 61,653 people working in tech, and a 65% increase in new digital companies incorporated between 2010-13. Details of that are here.

The meeting was also very well covered on Friday morning on the Mark Cummins breakfast show on BBC Radio Gloucestershire.  Stroud Civic Society was name-checked, there was an interview with David Drew, Stephen Davies and even (I think) our very own Sue Houseago!  They also interviewed Alex Bomberg from Eastington (who did not attend the meeting) down-the-line. The relevant clip from that programme can be heard be heard by clicking here (audio clip will open in a new window, and is BBC copyright)

Some other matters arising from the meeting:

Why not just a new standalone FGR stadium?
The question has been asked: ‘if FGR require another site for their matches why can’t it be just that – why must it be linked to an industrial site?’

As was explained at the meeting, FGR can only afford to build a new stadium with the income from the EcoPark to subsidise it.  There is no stadium-only option.

Conversely, the state-of-the-art sporting facilities, nature reserve and the possibility of opening up part of the ‘missing mile’ of the Stroudwater Canal on either side of the M5 are the carrot to justify building an out-of-town business park—however supposedly ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’—just off the motorway on a greenfield site.

Missed opportunity
The most depressing thing to emerge from the meeting and in conversation afterwards was that Ecotricity and Forest Green Rovers would have preferred to build their stadium/EcoPark as part of a planned new settlement at Standish Junction—on land mostly already owned by Gloucestershire County Council—hubbed by a new railway station positioned athwart the Midland and Great Western lines so as to be able to offer direct through services to Bristol and the southwest, Gloucester and the north as well as to Stonehouse, Stroud and London.  The arguments for this station and settlement were eloquently advanced by Hugh and Nick Falk at previous meetings,  but the addition of the stadium/EcoPark would have been a major bonus and should have kickstarted the scheme.  Workers at the EcoPark and FGR fans would then have been able to access the site by train and the development would have more claim to the word ‘sustainable’.

Alas, no. Instead of which, we can expect a ragbag of unsustainable and poorly accessible developments around Stonehouse, Eastington, Westend, Nupend and junction13.  Of which the EcoPark is just one.

That said, by the end of the evening I concluded (with reservations) that there was a strong case for the proposed stadium/EcoPark at junction 13, as long as a number of serious downsides can be addressed.  That might include the reöpening of Stonehouse Bristol Road railway station.

Invitation to a meeting: EcoPark or EgoPark? Greentech or Greenwash?

(Words by Tim Mars) 

The proposed Eco Park, centred on Junction 13 of the M5 motorway

The proposed Eco Park, centred on Junction 13 of the M5 motorway

Invitation: You are cordially invited to a meeting hosted by Stroud Civic Society to discuss and debate Ecotricity’s ambitious plans for an ‘EcoPark’ on a large greenfield site beside Junction 13 of the M5 near Eastington. 

Ecotricity’s EcoPark – Greentech or Greenwash?
Is the proposed EcoPark a ‘centre of excellence for sport and green business’ or just another out-of-town business park off the motorway?

Time and place: 7:30pm Thursday 26th November, Old Town Hall, The Shambles, Stroud GL5 1AP

Speakers

  • David Drew, Vice Chairman of Forest Green Rovers
  • Hugh Barton, Emeritus Professor of Planning, Health and Sustainability at the University of the West of England
  • Alison Williamson, Environmental Planner at Ecotricity
  • Simon Pickering, Senior Ecologist at Ecotricity and Green District Councillor for Slade Ward
  • Stephen Davies, Conservative District Councillor for Eastington and Standish

Context: This is likely to be a very lively debate on the most significant and contentious greenfield development proposal since Gloucester Motorway Services at Whaddon. Ecotricity and Forest Green Rovers have run a series of drop-in sessions as part of their public consultation exercise, but this is the first opportunity for a public discussion of the pros and cons of the scheme, with a range of viewpoints represented and contributions from the floor welcome.

Background: The proposed EcoPark is a multi-million pound 100-acre sports and business facility located beside Junction 13 of the M5 near Eastington. Ecotricity says: ‘It will be a place where green businesses and technology companies come together and share ideas, a real focal point of creativity and innovation for the area—and a part of the green industrial revolution that’s beginning to take off around the world.’

Half of the EcoPark will be dedicated to creating state-of-the-art sporting facilities, including a 5,000 capacity all-seater stadium for Forest Green Rovers, training fields, 4G pitches, multi-disciplinary sporting facilities, as well as a sports science hub.

The other half will comprise a green technology business park with sustainably built commercial offices and light industrial units potentially capable of hosting up to 4,000 jobs.

Another part of the site will become a nature reserve, while the overall concept also includes working with the Cotswold Canals Trust to open up part of the ‘missing mile’ of the Stroudwater Canal on either side of the M5.

There are also plans to upgrade various roundabouts along the A419, dual some carriageways and the potential to develop a public transport hub—including a Stroud Park and Ride.

Comments: These comments posted online after recent articles on the EcoPark give a good flavour of the range of views. I have highlighted some of the more interesting comments in italics:

kjag23 2:09pm Fri 17 Jul 15
FGR barely fills its current stadium, why does it need another? Does Mr Vince not understand the “Forest Green” part of “Forest Green Rovers”?
Dale Vince slowly taking over.

skittikitty 4:55pm Fri 17 Jul 15
He is on a one man mission to destroy the countryside and Eco featuring anywhere in these plans is a mysnoma.
Neither is there the infrastructure to support this development, queues morning noon and night, or do his “Eco” plans include the concreting over of more countryside to facilitate a new road too?

reggy.smith1 5:14pm Fri 17 Jul 15
More green fields gone, not much eco here. Why does Forest Green need another stadium when they have not long built the one they have now.

sicorlett 6:28pm Fri 17 Jul 15
Dale Vince has a history of producing employment for the local area, and he does so while building sustainable industry – what’s not to like? I wish him luck in continuing to build successful business ventures that do not rape the environment, provide employment, and bring new innovative technologies to the area. Good on ya’, pal!

a-bomberg 6:34pm Sat 18 Jul 15
Once these fields are gone they are gone. Dale Vince, a man that claims to be green when it suits his needs. None of this is needed. We do not have a high area of unemployment. We do not have a need for more sports teams; many teams struggle to fill their sides now, and there is no need for a stadium that very obviously will be used for concerts and not just sport.
If these people think that they can dangle a few carrots and we (the locals) will all start licking his boots then he is very deluded indeed. Dale Vince is messing with the wrong community.
No matter how this tries to be “packaged” or “spun”, these are the green fields of Gloucestershire that we be no-more. Lot will say that “its ok, its near the M5, it will get built on sooner or later, something will be there – that really does not need to be the case. We do not need to be that district, that county.
I can see it now, you come off J13 and these building will welcome people. If we let these fields be built on then that is an end to this England, your England.
#egotricity #ForestGREENmyarse

Ginie 6:39pm Sat 18 Jul 15
There is enough industrial estates in the area! Stonehouse trading estate is sufficient enough to welcome new companies as they have a lot of empty warehouses, so why building a new trading estate there. We need to leave intact some of the only green spaces we have left and leave wild animals in peace. Forest Green has already got a stadium and don’t need another one, they can’t even fill the one they have now.

corin22 12:12am Mon 20 Jul 15
already taking money out of our pockets with our energy bills with his waste of space windmills he would not be doing this unless there is a lot in it for him—again

juanhunglo 12:48pm Tue 21 Jul 15
Vince the viking, raping and pillaging the countryside.
5,000 seater stadium for mediocre football, the ball’s in the air more times than it is on the ground, what a waste.
Leave the fields, there’s not many left.
http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/13462128.Plans_for___100_million____Eco_Park____including_new_Forest_Green_Rovers_stadium_near_Stroud_unveiled_by_Ecotricity_boss_Dale_Vince/

stewartwardrop 12:00pm Thu 3 Sep 15
Great idea – needs to support across the community.
Joined up thinking at last – bringing investment and jobs to the area in a sustainable way
From a Whitminster resident who totally supports this proposal.

Salendine 12:34pm Thu 3 Sep 15
4,000 new jobs? What are all these people going to be doing, and how are they going to get out of the towns to this site? Do locals skill sets match what will be required by green technology companies or will the jobs be going to people out of town? Many questions yet to be answered.
Whilst it is planned to be on green land (rather than remediating brown field sites) it is still sounding like an ego trip. DV doesn’t actually answer that question, but deflects it in the manner of a skilled politician.
Fair play for having a public debate. Will be interesting to hear the outcome.

Sbak4287 11:07am Sun 6 Sep 15
Why is it that every interview I hear from Dale Vince, he’s so defensive, patronising and inconsiderate of the local residents. I’m sure he wouldn’t be happy about this being built on the back of his fort! To say this is a mile away from Eastington is a load of rubbish, this is being built IN Eastington, my parents home is right next to the field he wants to build on and I’m pretty sure last time I checked, their address stated Eastington in it, or do these residents not matter?!
Why do you want to destroy one of the very few rural villages left in Gloucestershire for the sake of unnecessary building developments and sports facilities. We already have a sports field in Eastington! Or has that been overlooked too? 4000 jobs? I’d like to see a listing to prove that this isn’t just a figure that’s been plucked out of the air.. And the already heavily congested roads leading to that site are just going to become constant standstill traffic areas.
Finally in the recent interview with BBC Gloucestershire, Dale was very defensive about the development being described as concreting over green land, of course you are concreting over green land, or are you expecting your staff and football fans to park in a field? We don’t NEED this development at all! But that’s just my opinion…

a-bomberg 3:56pm Sun 6 Sep 15 million 
“4000 new jobs” total lies…. Its a trading estate where 4000 people could work. So, what that relates to in real terms is existing companies moving to this site. The job creation will not be 4000, new jobs may only be 10-25% at best I would expect.

kjag23 4:15pm Mon 7 Sep 15
An eco technology park sounds like a good idea. A very Stroudy way to bring business to Stroud, and being just off the motorway would mean many wouldn’t travel through towns to work.
However, I wouldn’t trust Mr Vince as far as I could throw him.
He’s a slippery character with a dodgy past, this seems like a self indulgent addition to his empire.
Take out the totally needless FGR stadium and move it to a brownfield site then I’ll be on your side.
Score: 4

HarryMonmouth 1:59am Tue 8 Sep 15
This does sound like a good idea to me. I am usually in favour of stopping big companies trampling over countryside but of all the ways in which this sort of thing could be done ecotricity seems to be trying to create a positive environment with as little negative impact on the countryside as possible. Perhaps some of the jobs will require skills that are not available locally but those workers will become local and will require services that are supplied locally. The knock on effect is probable more than four thousand jobs when the effect on the local economy is taken into account. I would far rather a forward thinking company like ecotricity tried this than any other company, or for that matter allowing stagnation of the local economy.

daphnetomlinson 5:29pm Sat 26 Sep 15
These are exciting, much-needed plans. Since May, the government has abolished subsidies for renewable energy while maintaining substantial tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry, scrapped the Zero Carbon Homes standard for all new houses to be zero carbon by 2016, slashed the budget for the Department for Energy and Climate Change, and dumped the tax discount for low-emissions vehicles. By these actions, our government is hastening us down the road to runaway climate change. It is only enterprising individuals with vision, such as Dale Vince, whose work can help avoid planetary disaster.
http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/13643446.Ecotricity___s_Dale_Vince_responds_to_criticism_of_plans_for_100_acre_Eco_Park_near_Eastington/

a-bomberg 1:31pm Wed 11 Nov 15
Not true at all. “While the other half will comprise a green technology business park with sustainably built commercial offices and light industrial units potentially capable of creating up to 4,000 jobs.”
It is a site where up to 4000 people could work (like any industrial estate). Companies would be moving in to new units. Companies that already employ people. That is NOT job creation. That is just companies moving to a site closer to the M5… EGO before ECO?

Salendine 9:39pm Wed 11 Nov 15
Why not invest in Brimscombe Port? That project needs a developer/investor, and its a brown field that needs cleaning up. That has to be greener than building on green fields. There are numerous other brown field sites that need cleaning up and developing. That would be a contribution worthy from a minted eco warrior.
I wonder if he does get permission to build on green fields will he come up against his old tree hugging buddies as they hurl themselves in front of his bull dozers? Going to be interesting watching this one roll out.

David_Lloyd 11:50am Thu 12 Nov 15
This doesn’t look like a debate.
The Panel is David Drew (FGR and promoting the scheme), Dale Vince ( who is proposing the scheme), Simon Pickering ( who works for Ecotricity), and Hugh Barton who is in favour of building on areas like this as per his proposals for other parts of Stonehouse.
We are yet to even see detailed plans .. The illustration you continue to use is just a concept ( pure fiction ).
This area remains outside of any area earmarked for development in the old and emerging Stroud Local Plan.
Let’s see the full planning application, compare it to local and national planning policy, and see the process through.
http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/14023719.Debate_over___100million____Eco_Park____near_Stroud_heats_up_as_pros_and_cons_prepare_to_face_scrutiny/

If you have views, or just want to find out more, do come along to our meeting on November 26th!  It’s at 7:30pm,  Old Town Hall, The Shambles, Stroud GL5 1AP.  Members £2, Non-members £3.

Gloucester Motorway Services wins Civic Voice National Design Award!

Gloucester Services - interior - restaurant eye level

Gloucester Services - interior

Following our nomination of Gloucester Service back in May (alongside a allied nomination by Matson and Robinswood Residents Group) we are delighted to announce that the project won both the New Build Category AND was the Overall Award Winner!

The ceremony took place in London last week, with the Society represented by Tim Mars.

This is the wording from the Civic Voice website:

Winner: Gloucester Services Northbound

Glenn Howells Architects

Matson residents and community partners came up with the unique idea of making the M5 motorway immediately adjacent to Matson a route to income, training and employment for local communities by developing Gloucester Services into an embassy for Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire Gateway Trust teamed up with Westmorland, who own and run the only independent motorway services in the country, to deliver this vision. The judges were unanimous in recommending Gloucester Services Northbound as winner of the New Buildings category and also the clear overall winner of the Civic Voice Design Awards 2015.

The project has taken what is usually the most dismal of buildings and developed it into a resource and showcase for local people, products and produce, boosting the local economy. It sets an outstanding vision for the design of motorway service stations for the future. The vision the community have relentlessly pursued is utterly commendable. Its use of the surrounding rural landscape and farming community to improve employment, training and skills in neighbouring deprived communities has been an outstanding achievement.This is an amazing project, totally original, community led, well designed and commercially successful too. Gloucester Services Northbound is a fantastic precedent for strong community cooperative led design, which we hope is replicated across the country.

Nominated by Matson and Robinswood Residents Group and Stroud Civic Society

Gloucester Services - back - side view through shrubbery

Gloucester Services - side view through shrubbery

We will upload some photos of the event, hosted by Griff Rhys-Jones, soon. You can download a pdf detailing all the winners by clicking here.