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“There are several way-marked trails such as the Cotswold Way that pass close by, but until now Stroud hasn’t had a route of its own,” explained Stroud resident and keen walker Debbie Hewitt, who created the route. “It offers fantastic views from each of the five valleys plus a stretch of canal. We hope this will be used by visitors and local residents as a way to visit many quiet, hidden corners of the town.”
A colour leaflet of the route is available from our council office in London Road. Copies will also be in the town’s Tourist Office from September 4th.
(Pic by Andy Read)
At 7.30am, town clerk Helen Bojaniwska blew a whistle at the war memorial in Park Gardens to mark the centenary of the battle.
On July 1, 1916 at 7.30am, whistles blew along the Western Front as a signal to the troops to go “over the top”.
The small gathering observed the two-minute silence and stood quietly as two poems were read including Ivor Gurney’s On Somme.
Town Mayor Kevin Cranston said: “To share a few moments of our busy lives is the least that we can do for these remarkable young men who sacrificed so much for their country.”
Councillor Cranston personally marked the occasion though he was not in Stroud
for the ceremony. His paternal grandfather were one of the men to “go over the top” and survive.
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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At 7.30am on July 1, 1916 whistles blew along the Western Front as a signal to the troops to go “over the top”.
It marked the beginning of the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles of the Great War.
At 7.30am on Friday July 1 Stroud Town Council will blow a whistle at Park Gardens in tribute.
People are being urged to come along and spare a few moments to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.
For Stroud Town Mayor Kevin Cranston it will be a poignant moment – his paternal grandfather was one of the men to “go over the top” and survive.
George David Cranston was aged around 20 and serving with the Royal Irish Rifles.
“The 36th Ulster Division, which my grandfather was part of, made the only remotely successful part of the attack,” said Councillor Cranston.
“They had celebrated Orange Day early and having partaken of the rum ration crawled out in no mans land close behind the barrage. When it lifted they were able to overcome the enemy in their trenches as they had only a short distance to cover.
“They captured the Schwaben Redoubt, a key point in the German defensive line but were in an isolated salient which was overwhelmed by a German counter attack after a couple of days.”
The British casualty figures for July 1 were a total of 58,000 of whom 19,000 were killed with the remainder wounded or taken prisoner.
Vigils and remembrance events will take place across the country between June 30 and November 18 – the dates when the fighting continued.
The Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch KCVO, head of Remembrance at The Royal British Legion said it was important for communities to come together to remember the survivors, casualties and men who died.
“The Battle of the Somme has come to symbolise the tragic scale and futility of modern industrialised warfare. Their collective sacrifice is relevant today as ever but in this centenary year we pay special tribute to their service.”
Stroud Town Council, who owns the hall and gallery, has launched a consultation to find out what would make the venue even better.
The town council bought Lansdown Hall in 2010 to save it from closure. It is run by a charitable trust and provides a community space for the town.
Since then more than £398,000 has been invested into the venue. This includes £140,000 from organisations including Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, with landfill tax contributions from Cory Environmental, Biffa Award, Garfield Weston Foundation and The Summerfield Trust.
Major improvements include an extension for storage, a revamped and improved gallery, repairs to stonework, windows, energy saving measures and a massive upgrading of the hall’s event sound and theatre lighting systems.
“When the town council bought the hall nothing practical was working, we were in debt and the hall was in desperate need of repair,” said Jeremy Collingwood, chairman of the Lansdown Hall Trust.
“Now we have a venue that is transformed and has become a hub for the community. We think it is now one of the best venues in the county – and we are not done yet.”
People are being encouraged to complete a survey to enable the council to decide what improvements are done next.
These include renovating the remaining windows in the hall, installing blackout curtains, creating a bar area, upgrading toilets and creating a fully accessible main entrance to the hall.
A celebration party was held to mark the venue’s progress so far. Mary Moore unveiled the hall’s restored iconic rose window. The funding of the purchase and installation of the electronic window blind was raised by Mary and her sister Julia Donaldson, creator of The Gruffalo, in two sell-out children’s shows.
“We want to build on our improvements to Lansdown Hall and Gallery but need the public to tell us what they consider as priorities,” said town Mayor Kevin Cranston.
“People will have a direct impact on possible further grants. This consultation will help us illustrate how important the hall is to the community. The more people who respond to the consultation, the stronger our case for support.
“We must thank the funders who have been so generous and helped us create this wonderful venue.”
The survey is now closed.
Following consultation Gloucestershire County Council has announced its policy to open 16 “super centres” for children and families.
There will be two such expanded centres for Stroud district – one at The Park in Stonehouse and one at Treetops in Dursley.
The two children’s centres in Stroud in Bisley Old Road and Fiveways in Caincross as well as three centres in Painswick, Nailsworth and Wotton-under-Edge would lose their funding and become community-run.
The county council is holding discussions with schools, community groups and volunteers to take over some of the current services such as clubs, activities, information and health advice.
Councillor Paul McLain, cabinet minister for children and families and the man in charge of the new policy, said the supercentres were being opened in the areas where there is the highest number of families in need.
The county council says the proposal will save £3.2m from its budget which will be reinvested into more children’s social workers.
There was a community outcry when the plans were announced earlier this years.
Critics argued that the proposal will be a false economy as it will focus only on families with existing problems.
Stroud Town Mayor Kevin Cranston said he was disappointed with the proposal to cut services.
“The professionally staffed children’s centres provide an immensely valuable service to a wide variety of people,” he said.
“Research, in Oxfordshire, shows that when they are closed in favour of more focussed social work the number of problems goes up. Any saving will prove to be illusory as higher costs will emerge later.
“While the buildings will remain open there remains the question of who will cover the running costs. It is another example of how cuts in public spending impact upon people’s lives and is something that cannot just be left to the voluntary sector.
“This is a false economy as these centres offer universal support and thus reach families before problems become major concerns and save the public purse in the long run. Under the changes this will be lost.”
A decision on the policy was due to be made today (Wednesday June 8) by the county council’s cabinet.
If approved then tenders will be invited from organisations in July and the new service to come into operation in April 2017.
Declaration of Status of Published Accounts 2017 download
Audit notice for the year ended 31st March 2017 download
Notice of conclusion of audit for accounts for the year ended 31st March 2017 download
Declaration of Staus of Published Accounts 2016 download
Audit notice for the year ended 31st March 2016 download
Notice of conclusion of audit for accounts for the year ended 31st March 2016 download
Mike Dando has worked for the past 20 years in land management, forestry and nature conservation, in the private, public and charity sectors, so brings a broad range of experience with him.
While much of that work was deskbound, the 51-year-old is looking forward to getting out and working with his five-strong team within Stroud Town Council, as well as keeping the inevitable paperwork in good order.
“I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in and engaging with people in Stroud about how we make green spaces that benefit people and wildlife sustainably into the future.”
In his earlier life Mike was involved in the punk scene and spent a couple of years as a New Age traveller.
These days Mike spends his free time tending his allotment, enjoying live music, family life and motorcycling.
He worked for many years as the Head Ranger for many of the National Trust’s Wiltshire sites, including the Stonehenge Landscape.
Mike is particularly keen to get more residents involved with Bisley Road old cemetery, one of only a handful in the country that is classified as a nature reserve.
“I really want to help give children a love of nature as they will need to care for the Earth after my generation is gone. f you don’t know about nature then you are less likely to respect it.”
The Town Council’s team is responsible for a number of green spaces, including Bank Gardens and the old and new cemeteries off Bisley Road.
Mike has already introduced organic fertiliser for floral displays and is hoping to use more plants and flowers which attract pollinating insects.