COLUMN by Stroud District Council leader Catherine Braun 

TIDAL energy opportunities in the Severn Estuary are currently being reviewed by the Western Gateway regional partnership, with potentially exciting new prospects for new renewable energy generation.

This is just one of many issues mentioned in reports to the council’s strategy & resources committee on Thursday.

Two important items on the agenda this week relate to buildings and land in Stroud and Stonehouse.

In Stroud, a lease is being proposed for the Old Town Hall, a Grade II* listed building which dates back to the 16th Century.

It’s been a market hall, school and courthouse, amongst other things, but in recent years has been under-used with many rooms remaining empty.

We’ll discuss whether to offer a long lease for the whole building, initially inviting expressions of interest from community groups. Any lease would be subject to the continuing public use of the hall and of the stores to Shambles market traders, with the district council retaining the freehold.

In Stonehouse, we’ll discuss a proposal for the canalside site, also known as the former Ship Inn, which had previously been earmarked for housing.

The proposal builds on community engagement over recent years and a new study which set out the potential for nature, social connectedness and economic regeneration on the site.

The start of October marks Black History Month, where we recognise and celebrate the invaluable contributions of black people to British society.

This year we’ll be particularly marking the contributions of black women and the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the passengers of the Empire Windrush in the UK.

Finally, October is also party conference season, so I’ll be off to Brighton this weekend to join fellow Green Party councillors and members for meetings, political debates and hopefully (weather permitting) a stroll along the pier.