JUST what is going on with planning in Stroud District Council?

It seems to be in a mess and that is not me saying that.

It’s the view of key property experts I have talked to , and not least the government Planning Inspectorate but I have not had the privilege of talking to them.

It is the Planning Inspectorate who have given the council both barrels over what appears to be a ham-fisted approach over seeking to create what boils down to a mini- town at Sharpness with about 2 750 homes.

The government inspectors also raised the very important issue of the capacity of the M5 motorway at Junctions 12 and 14 to cope with increased traffic because of any increased housing development.

As a result, the draft plan has now been paused for six months to allow the council to address the issues and find solutions.

Just what is the mindset of the politicians and officers when it comes to a realistic vision for planning?

Not very simple and not very clear was the conclusion of one of the area’s most experienced and trusted land consultants who has spent over 40 years wrestling with the region’s planning challenges.

Perhaps the main question the council is facing is how many homes will the area need over the next 20 years?

Sharpness seemed to win the council vote. But how do you ensure the area has enough employment opportunities so that residents would not be just getting in their cars to go to work-destroying the council’s carbon neutral goals?

Where is the public transport from Sharpness? There was an idea of bringing back the old railway line leading to the docks. That’s just a pipe dream.

There is just one road out of Sharpness on to the A38. Ten years ago, I am told that the only way that Sharpness could work as a new housing community would be a new bridge over the Severn.

To deliver real growth in planning terms you need true leadership and a lot of vision.

That has been sadly lacking.