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Parish Council opposed to sports stadium at junction 13

Eastington Parish Council remain opposed to plans to build a sports stadium at junction 13 on land within Eastington parish, despite the recommendation from Stroud District Council’s officers to “Permit” the application.

There are still fundamental issues with the application with no clear resolution (“to be mitigated through reserved matters applications” is just not good enough as we saw with West of Stonehouse).

The application will be decided by the District Council’s Development Control Committee on Wednesday 12th June at 6pm. Public invited to attend. Eastington Parish Council will address the Committee highlighting the main issues of the application.

The main issues of the application:

  • At odds with the priorities outlined in the Stroud Local Plan (2015) and Eastington Neighbourhood Development Plan (2016) to the detriment of a plan lead system.
  • Positioned completely outside the settlement boundary and therefore contrary to Policy CP15 of the Local Plan and Policy EP1 of the Neighbourhood Plan. Further contrary to CP14 (noise), ES3 (maintaining quality of life within our environmental limits), ES7 (landscape).
  • The scheme has been proposed on a speculative basis and is highly likely to have premature effects on Stroud District Council’s overall strategy.
  • Scale at almost 20m (four times the eaves height of an average house) on the highest part of the site will detract from the setting of several historic hamlets in the Parish (Westend in particular) which is at odds with the objectives for the area.
  • Site selection criteria have lacked the flexibility to consider smaller sites which could have been more sustainable.  This was a fatal flaw in the Stroud Rugby Club dismissed appeal[1].
  • The proposed £7 car parking charge will see cars parking on verges and estate roads to avoid the charge; people are unlikely to opt for the bus / cycle / walk given the ease of access from the motorway and A419 to the proposed site. Are people going to drive for 20 minutes and park on an estate road for free or spend over an hour getting 2 buses? The travel plan is not sustainable.
  • Noise to surrounding homes and businesses which enters the range 70-75 decibel range on Ecotricity’s own mapping at numerous houses in Grove Lane and 65-70 decibels at the Travel Lodge, houses in Chipmans Platt and William Morris College. These are unacceptable even without factoring in the special needs of vulnerable residents at the college and the prevailing northwest wind which will direct more noise over a wider area.  Telling residents to “shut windows” to block out the noise is not the answer.
  • The loss of existing landscaping and ecological value is not sufficiently avoided or mitigated.   There will be six lanes of traffic at the access which requires the wholescale removal of established hedges along the whole of the south of the A419 between J13 of the M5 and Chipmans Platt Roundabout and parts of the northern boundary, which will detract from the visual appearance of the access to Stroud and further almost wholescale loss of hedges and trees within the site.
  • There is acknowledgement from Stroud DC’s planning officer that local road junctions will fail as a result of this development, not least as the surrounding roads remain single carriageway.
  • Controversially the stadium application is only considering 5000 seats and yet the building is designed to take an additional 5000 seats with no additional engineering work.

[1] Appeal ref: APP/C1625/A/07/2054481 Land at Eastington Park Farm