A PLAN to make room for over 12,000 more houses by 2040 in the Stroud district is going out for debate by the public.

Councillors this week signed off on an initial strategy for meeting higher house-building targets set by the government in April.

From next month members of the public will have nine weeks to give their views on the plan, which identifies enough new sites for development for at least 638 homes per year.

The first stab at where to build singles out Cam, Dursley, Stroud and Stonehouse as main areas of expansion, with officers recommending a strategy of "concentrated growth" to councillors off the back of initial public surveys.

The strategy also paves the way for two new settlements - so-called garden villages - at Sharpness and at Wisloe, a prospect that prompted one councillor to delay the opening of the consultation a month before.

“This new Wisloe development has come from nowhere," said Jessica Tomblin, a Conservative who represents Cam West, as the plan returned to Ebley Mill on Thursday.

"All of our meetings last year don’t mention anything about Wisloe coalescing with three to four other villages.”

Other councillors stressed the preliminary nature of the strategy, which identifies potential sites for development but does not give the go-ahead for any building.

Instead, the strategy is part of a review of Stroud District Council's Local Plan - the rulebook its planners turn to when they green light or shoot down new builds.

Another district councillor for Cam, Paul Denney of Labour, responded to cllr Tomblin with: “We have to push forward with this.

"Let’s see what the public think, and vote accordingly.”

Aside from more houses, the strategy also sets out broader ambitions for the Stroud district.

A top priority for Stonehouse under the plan will be the re-opening of the town's Bristol-Birmingham line station, which closed in the 1960s.

Consultation begins in November, providing the opportunity for comment until mid-January.

If the district council fails to meet targets by itself, the government could step in.