The referendum on the Neighbourhood Development Plan is the last stage in the project launched by Stroud Town Council in 2014.
If there is a majority “yes” vote then the plan – the first in Stroud district – will become a statutory planning document that can be used to support or challenge planning applications concerning the town centre.
A group of volunteers led the consultation for the Neighbourhood Development Plan. More than 2,500 people were consulted.
It has been praised by businesses and organisations including Historic England, the Federation of Small Businesses and the County Council.
The Neighbourhood Development Plan focuses on three key themes – making Stroud town centre more welcoming, healthier and thriving.
Following the consultations, it found that people want to improve the range of shops in the town centre, have better parking provision and less congestion with safer and more convenient pedestrian access.
There was also a call for improved green spaces and the regeneration of the canal.
The Neighbourhood Development Plan’s proposals include improving the “gateways” to the town centre to make them more attractive and welcoming; improving information about car parking and bus services and making the town centre more pedestrian-friendly without changing traffic circulation.
To help make the town centre more thriving, the Neighbourhood Development Plan proposes that Stroud creates a canal basin, opening up the waterfront and linking it to the town centre.
It would encourage investment in retail and commercial facilities through flexible site planning including the former bowls club in Merrywalks and the Market Tavern in Union Street.
The Neighbourhood Development Plan would create opportunities for more, better and diversified housing in and around the centre.
To make the town healthier the Plan calls for new pedestrian and cycling links, safeguarding green spaces and encouraging biodiversity and green walls. It also recommends reducing the impact of traffic congestion and pollution along Merrywalks by creating new pedestrian and cycling routes.
“Thousands of people have been consulted in the creation of the Neighbourhood Development Plan and it tackles the issues people were most concerned with,” said Kevin Cranston, Mayor of Stroud.
“It is now important for people to turn out and vote on August 18 so that the town council can act on their behalf.”
The referendum will be open to people living in the Stroud town parish and involve about 6,000 voters.
Further information about the Neighbourhood Development Plan, go to shapingtheheartstroud.org. Paper versions of the plan are available at the library, Tourist Office and Town Council office.
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