MORE than 100 residents attended a meeting in Slimbridge to oppose plans to create a 1,500-home garden village.

Members of the Wisloe Action Group gathered at Slimbridge Village Hall on Monday evening to raise their concerns regarding the proposal in Stroud District Council’s Local Plan, for agricultural land off Wisloe Road and south of the Slimbridge roundabout.

A Wisloe Action Group spokesman said: “There are currently 500 homes across the rural parish of Slimbridge, which includes Cambridge and Gossington. Stroud planners are proposing a site to build more than 1,500 additional houses, which is three times its current size.

“The Wisloe proposal will destroy the very nature of what makes it a wonderful place to live.

“Council planners are also proposing other sites with adjoining land in Cam. This will link the parish of Slimbridge with Cam. Essentially there will be a large town from Slimbridge in the Severn Vale to Dursley on the Cotswold escarpment.

“The merging or coming together of separate towns or villages to form a single entity is coalescence which goes against all principles of good planning.

“The Wisloe Action Group will be supporting the views of the people and opposing the Local Plan. Stroud planners need to listen and take notice of resident’s views.

“Dispersal of smaller housing developments across the region has always been the favoured option from the public consultations, but Stroud planners appear to have ignored this when offered a simple planning solution.

“The local plan should be about the future for Stroud district residents, not making life easy for planners.”

A Stroud District Council spokesperson said: “Stroud District Council welcomes comments from local residents on the contents of the draft Local Plan.

"Developing a Local Plan that can accommodate all of the housing required by central Government is not an easy task and we are currently progressing an approach that concentrates development at the main towns and in locations where the necessary infrastructure and transport links can be delivered, including at two new garden settlements.

"Concentrating development was the most popular option identified in the 2017 Issues and Options consultation.

“One of our key challenges is to meet a 40 per cent increase in the target set by Government for new house building – if the new plan is not approved Stroud District Council could lose control of where homes can be built.

“Land at Wisloe is outside the protected Cotswolds AONB, close to public transport routes on the A38 and Cam & Dursley station, close to services available in Cam and Dursley and is less environmentally constrained than other sites.

“Dispersing the level of housing development required to many small villages without adequate infrastructure is not considered to be a sustainable option. However, the Draft Plan does already provide for some dispersal to larger villages where needs can be accommodated close to local services and facilities.

"However, we would welcome responses during the consultation period suggesting better specific sites to accommodate the additional 8,000 homes we need to find land for.

“Stroud District Council will take account of all views and will assess any new sites identified during the consultation period. We are planning to finalise and submit a new Plan for examination in November 2020.”