Column by the leader of Stroud District Council, Doina Cornell.

Interest in our district travelled across the world over the Christmas period as people far and wide followed on social media the installation by Network Rail of the new Ocean railway bridge in Stonehouse.

Stroud District’s canal network, the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, and the Cotswold Canals are a resource for all of us, with a wealth of natural and built environment features, which contribute to local ecology, heritage and our general physical and mental wellbeing.

Our recently adopted Council Plan identifies the need to develop a long term vision and strategy and so a Canal Strategy has been developed over the last year, which will be considered this week at the Strategy and Resources Committee.

The Draft Strategy will go out for public consultation before its final adoption later this year. More information is available here:

The committee is also being asked to renew support for the Council Tax Support scheme to ensure that eligible households are able to claim relief from council tax. With inflation affecting household bills and rising fuel costs, it is more important than ever that we provide support to those in our district who most need it.

In a similar vein, the council has just opened applications for two new community grants, for organisations that help communities recover in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Grants are for three years and up to £20,000 and the deadline for applications is 31 January 2022. A Small Grants Fund is a new fund for awards of less than £1,000 with a simple application, designed to support small groups with less experience of bid writing, to get small scale projects off the ground. New bids will be considered every three months, throughout 2022.

The application forms can be downloaded at If you have any queries or need support in writing your application, please get in touch with us by email at or phone on 01453 766321.