Notice of Vacancy

WHITMINSTER PARISH COUNCIL

NOTICE OF VACANCY IN THE OFFICE OF COUNCILLOR

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN

that a casual vacancy has arisen in the Office of Councillor due to the resignation of Councillor Tim Douglas.

 

Please contact the Parish Clerk to be considered for this position.

Dated 3 June 2024

Parish objections to proposed 2,500 house development along Grove Lane

Whitminster Parish Council have submitted the following:
The following information is required to enable the proposal to be properly assessed:-

1. A full and detailed assessment of the impact that a development of the scale proposed would have on:-
a) The capacity of the local road network, particularly the A38, the A419, and Grove Lane,
b) The M5 in its function as a Strategic National route,
c) Junctions 12 and 13 of the M5, and
d) Thepotential impact on access to the railway stations at Stonehouse, Cam and Dursley, by both private car and public transport.

2. The assessment required in 1. above must take full account of:-
a) The Outline Planning Permission recently granted for the construction of a new football stadium within the North-eastern quadrant of Junction 13
b) The impact on the ongoing development at Great Oldbury, which also includes employment land.
c) The proposal to include further employment land off the A419, opposite the proposed football stadium, and
d) The effect the proposal would have on Grove Lane as a recognised cycle route.

3. An assessment of the public transport needs to access local shopping centres, such as Stroud, Stonehouse, Gloucester and Quedgeley.
4. An assessment of local health services, including Doctors and Dentists centres.
5. An assessment of primary, secondary and further education capacities.
6. A full and detailed analysis of the impact the proposal would have on the Landscape of the Severn Vale, particularly when seen from the Cotswold Escarpment, and more locally, when seen from Whitminster village, looking towards the escarpment, and from nearer high vantage points such as Claypits at Eastington.
7. A full and detailed assessment of ground conditions within the site, including possible contamination caused by spoil dumped within the site when the Stroudwater Canal was excavated prior to infilling when the A419 between J13 and the A38 roundabout was built. Also to include the spoil dumped to the rear of Granny Shepherd’s Wood, when the M5 Motorway was built.
8. An assessment of the impact that the development would have on,
(a), the high pressure gas main running south to north through the whole site,
(b), the impact on the gas governor station situated on Grove Lane, and the branch gas main from there to Stonehouse.
(c), the impact on the two high pressure water mains pipes traversing the whole of the site.
9. An assessment of the affect of the telecoms mast currently within the site, and any possible harm caused to occupiers of the houses to be constructed.
10. A Habitat Regulations Assessment of the likely impact on wildlife currently found within the site, particularly the wooded areas, including deer, badgers, birds of prey, songbirds and so on. A tree, hedgerow, flora and fauna survey would also be required, with particular emphasis on any protected species.
11. An assessment of the possible effect such a development would have on pluvial flooding issues within the northern portion of the suggested site.
12. Further detailed information is required indicating how the proposed development site is to be serviced with foul drainage. Local treatment works are totally inadequate for a development of this size, and the site is remote form any other main treatment works.
13. A detailed assessment of the impact of noise caused by demolition works, traffic noise,
artificial light emissiaps, and loss of air quality to both existing and proposed new dwellings caused by the development of this proposed site. This to include an acoustic barrier need for noise emanating from the M5 motorway on dwellings built near to it. An assessment of the impact this proposal would have on the adjoining Grade 2 Listed Building, The Old Forge, other Listed Buildings found locally, as well as other notable buildings found nearby.
14. An assessment is required of the effect of coalescence of the villages of Moreton Valence, Whitminster and Eastington, currently separated by green fields. Included should be the loss of Public Rights of Way through green fields, and an assessment of the loss of productive agricultural land.

A fond farewell from Reverend Steve Harrison

We share below the letter from the Reverend Steve Harrison and wish him good luck with his new congregation in Bream!

Dear friends
Some of you may have heard by now that | am leaving the Stroudwater Team as | have been appointed Vicar of the Benefice of St James, Bream. Bream, for those less knowledgeable of the Forest of Dean, is about 3 miles inland from Lydney, not too far from the Welsh border.

My time here has been challenging and stretching, especially for someone moving country and settling into a big Benefice having led single parish ministries in the past. Overriding those feelings though is a sense of incredible gratitude for the opportunity | have had to minister in this place. People have been very kind in their comments, and | have been deeply touched by people thanking me for what | have been able to contribute and expressing their congratulations and recognition of the opportunities Bream offers.

| have also been very touched by the comments made by people | have been privileged to connect with through baptisms, weddings and funerals. | must have stood before a few thousand people in my five and a half years here as Rector, how amazing to be given this responsibility. Thank you for entrusting me with your tears and laughter as w e have journeyed these momentous times in your lives and the lives of your families.

| need to sit down at some point and calculate how many church services | have led in this time, and again, such a privilege to share from God?s word and celebrate communion together. You have been consistently encouraging and | feel we’ve had a lot of fun together in amongst the very serious work of church.
Talking about fun, thank you for so many Opportunities to do and be the church in interesting places. There?s a long list of great moments, but I think being invited, and invited back can you believe it, to open the Frampton Country Fair with the biker bunch sums up a lot of what rural ministry can like. Watch out for the opening this year, you may recognise the person riding the bike that Rev Liz comes in on.

This Team, the people, the beautiful Cotswolds, the ancient buildings, the canals and fields and so much more of this beautiful part of creation have been indelibly imprinted on my soul. | hope | have enriched some of your lives to some degree, because I know I am the richer for having been here and having known you.
I am so pleased that Rev Liz is taking over as Interim Team Rector, and that Rev Dave will continue t o minister as Team Vicar and that what w e have started as a Team will continue.

My last Sunday will be the 14th May, and I know that as I give the dismissal at that last service, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord” it will be with a heavy heart and tears in my eyes, gratitude for the past and hope for the future.

God bless everyone
Rev Steve Harrison

Meeting Notes – June 2022

These are brief notes from the June 2022 Parish Council meeting in advance of the formal minutes. They do not constitute a formal record of events!

Public Forum

There were six members of the public at the meeting and during the public forum they raised concerns that, even though there is now a solid island at the junction of the A38 and Grove Lane, drivers were still ignoring the “Left Turn Only” restriction..  Chairman Jones stressed that the island design had been approved by the Highways Dept at Glos County Council. As a result of the observations the Police have been contacted and they have agreed to monitor the situation.

 

County Councillor Stephen Davies agreed to engage with the Highways Department on a number of outstanding issues to improve the site including extending the southbound bus stop to enable buses to completely pull in off the main road. Other Highways issues raised included the condition of the pavement on the A38 (north of the crossroads) including overhanging hedges, excessive grass, and weed growth. Cllr Davies indicated he would take these issues forward with the Area Highways Manager.

Finally, concerns were raised at the amount of dog mess being left around the village which seems to have increased in recent weeks.

 

Planning 

There were no Planning decisions or applications to consider. Council agreed to write to the local Member of Parliament to enlist her help in negotiating a fair Community Benefit Fund from the developers of the approved Solar Farm.

 

Highways and Byways

There’s a new bench installed at the junction of The Close and School Lane, this is a Jubilee bench donated by Highfield Garden Centre.  A commemorative plaque will be attached to the bench shortly.

The public right of way between Hyde Lane and School Lane has been sprayed out, and the rusting post for the road sign immediately west of the mini roundabout on School Lane has been replaced. 

There’s a short stump left behind in the Kidnams Walk footpath where a bush has been removed. It will be assessed by the Public Rights of Way officer to see if it’s an obstruction that needs further work. 

A meeting will be set up between the Parish Council and the Highways Dept regarding the new road island from Grove Lane to A38, to address the issues seen.

County Councillor Stephen Davies reported on the County Council initiative on Safer Streets, and encouraged the Parish Council to apply for funding from the scheme, with a view to making our local roads safer. This initiative will be taking place over several months. It’s likely this would entail a plan to support 20 mph speed limits on side roads throughout rural areas, and as far as Whitminster is concerned that this could apply to all roads apart from School Lane. Other road safety measures in this initiative (that could be applied on School Lane) could include a vehicle activated road sign to warn users where they are exceeding the speed limit.

Large vehicles have been reported using Hyde Lane which is unsuitable for that type of traffic.  

Meeting Notes – March 2022

Interim notes from Whitminster Parish Council meeting on 2nd March

Council was asked by a member of the public present to write to the owners of The Copse adjacent to the playing field, thanking them for the swift removal of the trees blown down in Storm Eunice recently.

It was noted that Whitminster Village Hall was used as a respite shelter during that storm, and that about ten people from the locality made use of the premises during the day it was in use. As the storm abated during the afternoon, the Hall usage was stood down.

The recent spike in anti-social-behaviour taking place in our area seems to have died down somewhat , but residents are urged to stay aware of any recurrences, and to report it immediately to the Police.

The planning application to remove four trees to facilitate the replacement of Stonepitts Bridge has been allowed, Councils comments on replacing those trees were noted, and this will form part of the wider landscaping programme as the Stroudwater Canal is regenerated through the Parish. All other decisions on outstanding applications are awaiting determination. A new outline application to build up to 45 houses on land behind Schoolfield Close was discussed. The parcel of land identified in the application is included in the SDC Draft Local Plan for up to 40 houses, which is 10 more than requested by the Parish Council. The Draft Local Plan is still some way off adoption by SDC, as it does not go for the examination in public until later in the Spring., and could go on for 6 to 9 months.  Council resolved to object to the application, on it being premature, it being more than the allocation identified in the Draft Local Plan, therefore over development, and the fact that the applicant had made no direct consultation approach to the Parish Council, contrary to Stroud DC’s Statement of Community Involvement.  All other comments will be made at the Reserved Matters Application stage, whenever that comes. Council also asked for the application to be determined at Development Control Committee, not by Delegation to Officers. The agent for the Moreton Lane Solar Farm has advised that he hopes the application will go to DCC in Stroud later this Spring.  The alleged breach of the demolition times condition at the demolition site locally has been acknowledged by SDC, along with possible Environmental Health issues emanating from those works.. Other planning enforcement matters are still ongoing.

It was noted that The Lagger footpath running between Kidnams Walk and School Lane has been resurfaced, although an issue with a blocking bush remains. Details of the closure of Grove Lane were received, this to facilitate works at Grove End Farm, and hopefully the formation a better junction with the A38 to make all vehicles exit Grove Lane to the left. The failure to place proper notices of closure in the immediate area has been taken up with Highways.

These are the main points from the March PC meeting full minutes will be available after they are agreed at the next Council meeting on April 6th.

Meeting Notes – February 2022

These are brief informal meeting notes in advance of the formal minutes being available.

Brief notes from Whitminster Parish Council meeting, 2nd February 2022.
Information was circulated on the recent anti-social behaviour occurrences on the playing field, when broken glass from alcoholic drinks bottles was found on the driveway, the children’s play area and other parts of the field. In addition, two holding blocks on the ramp to the front door of the pavilion have been kicked out, and a hole dug in the centre of the football pitch, with the spade that was used left behind.

This is now inside the pavilion, if anyone can identify it. A couple of the posts holding the rope around the cricket square also being damaged. The local police have been informed, and measures proposed to combat this sort of behaviour include installation of a Community Safety Partnership wide-angle CCTV camera as soon as one becomes available, as well as increased patrols as manpower permits. The recent spate of door knocking and running away, mud throwing at doors and other nuisance behaviour at night has resulted in Police involvement, and anyone who might have CCTV pictures of these incidents is urged to contact Police on 101.

An Outline planning application to build up to 3 dwellings on land south of Prestwick Terrace on the A38, with all other matters reserved for future consideration, was considered. Council resolved to object on current Local Plan Policies, as being outside of the settlement boundary and over development of the site. This objection is in line with refusal reasons given for similar applications nearby. The new Eco-Park application east of Junction 13 is still being validated at Stroud District Council, and will be available for commenting on next month, should Council be invited to do so as a neighbouring Parish. The agent for Moreton Lane Solar Farm has indicated that this application, which affects both Whitminster and Moreton Valence parishes, is expected to be determined, for approval or not, by the Planning
Committee at SDC in the Spring. Modifications to various parts of the application have been made to incorporate comments made during the initial application consultation, although talks are still being held to try to improve more.

On Highways, notification had been received of the expected closure of Grove Lane from Feb 21 st to 21 st March to enable works at Grove End Farm to go ahead. If the anticipated works are completed before the closure ends, then it will be lifted. A reported hazard on the pavement between the entrance to Parklands Orchard and to Upton’s Gardens was expected to be resolved shortly. A report by a parishioner of a fence appearing in a field adjacent to Hyde Lane was discussed, and efforts will be made to ascertain the reason for its appearance. Notice has been given of The Lagger footpath between School Lane and Kidnams Walk being resurfaced later this month. This was welcomed, as Council has been pressing for many months for this work to be done.

On finance, it was decided to increase the Parish Precept by a few hundred pounds, however, with more houses being built and occupied in the village this last year, it will mean that there should be very little or no increase in Council Tax for the Whitminster Parish part of Council Tax bills, although the County Council, District Council and Police and Crime Commissioner elements of the Bills are expected to rise by the amount allowed.

It is hoped to be able to meet a representative from a potential Skate Ramp builder later this month with a view to getting a replacement Ramp in place later this year.

Ideas were discussed to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee later this year. These ranged from a celebratory mug for all Primary School age children in the village, to a marked metal bench placed at the entrance to The Close, with more suggestions welcome. More discussions will take place next month.

The Annual Open Parish Meeting date was decided to be on April 28 th at 7-30pm in the Village Hall. This is the public’s opportunity to hear the working of the Parish Council and other village organisations over the last year, and to raise any concerns.

These are only the relevant points of the February Parish Council meeting, full minutes will be available, when approved at the next meeting on March 2 nd

Meeting Notes – December 2021

In advance of formal meeting minutes, these are some brief informal notes taken during the meeting;

At the start of the meeting, Council received a presentation from two members of the Cotswold Canals Connected partnership on the Missing Mile planning application. This application will cover the length of the Stroudwater Navigation, between the A38 roundabout, eastwards to the M5 then onwards to Pike Lock at Eastington. The works proposed will include digging the channel, building a lock adjacent to the A38 roundabout, with a “parking marina” for narrowboats and a car park and perhaps a café alongside the A419 just off the roundabout. The M5 canal crossing will use the same underpass as the River Frome, but at a lower level, with another lock to be built in that area, then onwards across towards Eastington via Westfield Bridge. Also included for our Parish are further planning applications to replace Stonepitts Bridge and Whitminster Bridge with Bascule-type bridges, similar to Lodgemoor Lane Bridge in Stroud, and to replace Walk Bridge on Whitminster Lane with a “hump-back” bridge, to allow boats to travel underneath. When Walk Bridge is replaced, although pedestrian and bicycle access will be maintained over the canal, vehicular access will be closed, meaning that the road to Frampton, Saul and other areas in that direction will be closed for what could be about 16 weeks. It is proposed that areas of wetlands and support to wildlife, flora and fauna will be created on the line of the canal, with the majority of the canal banks and edges being “soft”, i.e., not piled with wooden or steel piles, but grown with rushes, and bushes and the like. Council will endeavour to keep everyone informed of the application’s progress in the coming weeks.

Council received a visit from PCSO Mike Trebble, who gave some statistics on crime in the village. They showed that reported crime in Whitminster remains low, and that this area is still a safe place to live, although it does mean that everyone needs to remain vigilant to keep it that way.

Support was given to the revised Listed Building Application for Parklands Farmhouse, and the clerk will be writing again to Planning Enforcement at Stroud District Council with reference to apparent breaches of Planning Consent within the parish

A report on the meeting with the Area Highways Manager (AHM) on perceived Highways issues on School Lane showed that statistics of recorded Road Traffic Collisions, injury or otherwise, with speed surveys results and any others would have to meet the necessary Highways criteria to enable further action to be considered. Previous speed surveys carried out on School Lane have shown that the average percentile speed on School Lane is within acceptable limits. The AHM advised that it is possible the County Council could adopt a blanket 20mph limit on urban roads, such as School Lane, next year, and suggested that a wait and see position be adopted until more information is known. Other items included the condition of the surface of Hyde Lane, with repairs needed in several places, the pavement northwards from the Crossroads, and the broken drain cover on Packthorne corner. The AHM said he would keep these issues in mind for further budget requests. (NB, Council supported a request previously from an organisation in the County for the proposed 20mph limit)

A meeting with a possible Skate Ramp builder is likely to be arranged shortly, to further discuss positioning and costs. A request for financial help from the Village Hall and Playing Field Management Committee, to remove and pollard some of the diseased and dying trees on the playing field was approved, so that all users of this Community Asset are kept safe.

These are only summary notes of the meeting, full minutes will be available when they are approved at the next meeting.