RESIDENTS of Berkeley and Sharpness have slammed development plans for the area.

After viewing Stroud District Council’s latest Local Plan public consultation report, campaigners say that the council has ‘got it wrong’.

Neil Leighton, a member of Berkeley and Sharpness Residents’ Action Group, said the council should “go back to the drawing board and produce a plan which promotes sensible and sustainable development.”

The Local Plan shows SDC’s proposals for 6,000 new houses, set to be built by 2040.

This target has been set for Stroud District Council (SDC) by the Government, to meet the predicted housing needs of the future.

The council produced a working plan, to identify where the development could potentially take place, called the Local Plan Emerging Strategy.

Mr Leighton said: “Under the plans, up to 2,400 homes could be built on farmland and countryside in an area which stretches from the north of Berkeley, through Sharpness and Newtown, Wanswell, Brookend and up to Hinton.

“There are also proposals for up to 120 homes on farmland just outside Berkeley, 300 in Sharpness Docks and 70 on land at the Focus school in Wanswell.”

Production of the plan was followed by a public consultation process, in which local people were asked to give their views of the proposals.

The results of the consultation have now been published and can be viewed at:

Mr Leighton added: “The results of the consultation reflect what many people in this area feel: the council has got it wrong.

“Almost two thirds of those who responded said they didn’t support the council’s broad approach to its Emerging Strategy and, here in the Berkeley and Sharpness area, more than 84 per cent of respondents opposed the ‘mini vision’ for this ‘cluster’.

“The council cannot ignore this.

“We understand the pressure the council is under to provide thousands of extra homes, but this shouldn’t be all about ‘easy fixes’, such as the poorly thought out and totally unsuitable ‘Garden Settlement’ proposed in our area.

“This has to be the right plan, not the easy plan.”

A Stroud District Council spokesperson said: “Seeking to deliver the Government’s housing targets for the next 20 years is a challenging exercise and there is certainly no easy plan.

“The Emerging Strategy consulted upon at the end of 2018 seeks to deliver growth through a combination of new garden settlements, extensions to our main towns and smaller levels of growth at the larger villages.

“We received a number of objections to proposals particularly from residents within the Berkeley Sharpness area and at Dursley.

“We are currently examining the nature of these objections and whether concerns expressed can be overcome through more detailed work on site specific proposals or if the strategy requires modification.

“We are commissioning further transport and landscape work to explore the options.

“Further consultation will be undertaken with communities as work on the draft plan progresses.

“The draft plan will be published at the end of 2019.”