RESIDENTS have a new opportunity to shape the heart of Stroud as the town council launches a review of its Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Back in 2014 and 2015, hundreds of people took part in the initial consultation for the plan for Stroud town centre.

It is now nearly six years since the plan was adopted by Stroud District Council following a referendum when 91 per cent of electors voted to accept it.

The NDP is part of the statutory local plan for Stroud district, and has to be taken into account when planning applications are considered in the town centre.

A spokesperson for the town council said: "Since the NDP was adopted it has been influential in shaping developments large and small, from the redevelopment of the Merrywalks Shopping Centre, (now Five Valleys) to many other smaller developments in the town centre.

"The plan also paved the way for many of the projects included in the Levelling Up Fund bid, for example proposals to promote walking and cycling, opening up Brunel Mall to link to the station car park and providing real-time passenger information."

The government’s decision on the bid is due to be announced in the near future.

Some of the proposed development sites in Stroud District Council’s new Local Plan, which is currently undergoing an independent examination by the Planning Inspectorate prior to adoption, were first proposed for development in the NDP.

These include the Cheapside area, Merrywalks arches, the police station and former magistrates' court site, and Beeches Green.

The new consultation kicked off at Stroud farmers' market where council staff spoke to 100 people about the plan. This first stage of the consultation is open until December 3.

Stroud mayor Stella Parkes said: "We want to hear the views of residents, businesses and visitors.

"If you like an area or can identify one which you think needs improvement you can drop a pin on the map and upload a photo to show the council exactly why you’ve commented."

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“An extension to the area covered by the plan has already been approved by Stroud District Council, so we need to look at whether we need new policies covering these additional areas, which include the Tesco, Homebase and Waitrose sites,” she added.