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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.”