WEEKLY COLUMN by Stroud District Council leader Catherine Braun 

IT was with great sadness that we learned of the death of our friend and longstanding councillor, the vice chair of council, Cllr Norman Kay last week.

Norman represented Horsley and Nailsworth for many years as well as serving as a Nailsworth Town Councillor and Mayor.

He will be very much missed.

In addition to tributes to current and former colleagues, there was a long agenda at our December council last week.

I provided an update on the draft local plan for Stroud district, which is still with the planning inspectors for a decision.

The Local Plan sets the planning framework to ensure new development delivers community infrastructure and green spaces, and to require new homes to be built to a high and carbon neutral spec.

It’s now over to the inspectors to decide on whether any changes are needed to our draft Plan.

With local elections, and potentially a general election next year, council voted to support the outcome of a recent polling district review, and the updated list of polling stations which have been checked to make sure they are fully accessible.

Support for market towns is a key focus for our administration, and I was pleased that councillors agreed to a request from Berkeley Town Council, to extend the Marybrook Street car park to make it easier for people to access the town centre.

To help community projects, we also agreed to set up a new community funding scheme next year.

Finally, we discussed the warm welcome that our district provides to migrants, and the importance of having safe and legal routes to this country, for people in need of sanctuary.

As we approach the festive season and end of the year, I’d like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy new year in 2024.