SCN2030: OVERVIEW OF THE STATUS OF NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING ACROSS THE STROUD DISTRICT
Note for the Community Energy Action Group, Transition Stroud, March 2019
The new Gloucestershire Sustainable Energy Strategy (GSES) and draft Stroud Carbon Neutral 2030 (SCN2030) strategy commit Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) and, potentially, Stroud District Council (SDC) to develop and promote stronger, more supportive, ‘low carbon’ Local and Neighbourhood Plans. These commitments are likely to come to fruition over the next 1-2 years.
The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) is running a support programme to encourage neighbourhood planning groups to make sure their area contributes to a sustainable future. It offers free planning advice and assistance to draft a low carbon neighbourhood plan (firstname.lastname@example.org). CSE has also published a range of guidance and case studies, including:
- A guide to Low Carbon Neighbourhood Planning
- A guide on how to identify suitable areas for onshore wind in neighbourhood plans
- Case studies in low carbon neighbourhood planning in Moreton in the Marsh and Congresbury
Aim of the Note
To provide an overview of the status of neighbourhood planning across the Stroud District in order to identify where there are early prospects for positive plan development from a SCN2030 perspective.
Overview of Parish and Town Council Cluster Areas
There are 52 Parish and Town Councils in the District.
The emerging Stroud District Council Local Plan sets out a series of mini-visions for parish cluster areas, which are intended to reflect the distinct qualities, issues, constraints and opportunities that exist in different parts of the District.
The 8 clusters are:
- Berkeley Cluster: includes Berkeley, Ham & Stone, Alkington, Hamfallow, Hinton and Slimbridge
- Cam & Dursley: includes Dursley, Cam, Coaley, Uley, Stinchcombe, Nympsfield, and Owlpen
- Cotswold Cluster: includes Painswick, Bisley-with-Lypiatt, Miserden, Cranham, Pitchcombe
- Gloucester Fringe: includes Hardwicke, Haresfield, Harescombe, Brookthorpe-with-Whaddon, and Upton St Leonards.
- Severn Vale: includes Arlingham, Elmore, Frampton on Severn, Fretherne with Saul, Longney, Moreton Valence and Whitminster
- The Stroud Valleys: includes Stroud, Cainscross, Brimscombe & Thrupp, Rodborough, Nailsworth, Minchinhampton, Chalford, Whiteshill & Ruscombe, Randwick, Woodchester and Horsley.
- Stonehouse Cluster: includes Stonehouse, Eastington, Kings Stanley, Leonard Stanley, Standish and Frocester
- Wotton Cluster: includes Wotton-Under-Edge, North Nibley, Kingswood, Alderley, Hillesley & Tresham
Status of Neighbourhood Planning across the District
In principle, areas for Neighbourhood planning can cross multiple administrative areas. In other words, multi-parish NPs can be developed. In practice, in Stroud District, NPs appear to be based on single-parish approaches.
A review of the information on the SDC website about the status of neighbourhood planning in the district shows that there are:
- No pending applications for designation of neighbourhood areas (which is the first step towards preparing a NP)
- 4 parishes where ‘neighbourhood areas’ have been designated but planning appears not be to be proceeding – [needs checking] (Brimscombe and Thrupp, Nailsworth, Standish and Wootton Under Edge)
- 4 parishes where NP is underway (Cam draft plan, Chalford design statement, Horsley draft plan, Minchinhampton going through examination)
- 7 Neighbourhood Plans with legal force (Dursley Feb 2019, Eastington Oct 2016, Hardwick Oct 2017, Kingswood May 2017, Stonehouse Feb 2018, Stroud Oct 2016, Whiteshill and Ruscombe Oct 2016).
- Only a small proportion of parishes across the district have developed, or are developing, a neighbourhood plan (11 out of 52)
- There appears to be limited opportunity to input SCN2030 thinking into active neighbourhood planning processes (Cam, Chalford and Horsley1)
- There may be opportunity to input SCN2030 thinking into the review of the ‘oldest’ NPs (Eastington, Stroud2 and Whiteshill & Ruscombe)
- It might be worth checking the status of NP discussions in parishes where ‘neighbourhood areas’ have been designated but planning appears not to be progressing (Brimscombe and Thrupp, Nailsworth, Standish and Wootton Under Edge)
- A future strategy for encouraging ‘SCN2030 positive’ neighbourhood planning may be to focus on: (i) areas or clusters where an anticipated SDC review indicates most potential for at-scale renewable energy development; and (ii) areas where local ‘climate action’ groups are established.
- A future strategy for encouraging the setting up of local ‘climate action’ groups may be to organise skillsgain workshops in each of the cluster areas.
1 Which the Horsley Energy Group is doing.
2 A member of CEAG – Hugh Barton – has offered to be contact for review of the Stroud TC NP.