A PACKED audience of hundreds of concerned residents expressed their desire to try and buy the land which contains a stunning valley described as the 'heart of Stroud'. 

Residents attending Monday night’s public meeting about the future of the Heavens Valley agreed that the Heavens Valley Action Group (HVAG) should go ahead and attempt to buy the 102-acre site on behalf of the community.

The audience also supported the option, if the total money needed cannot be raised, of collaborating with other potential buyers who share HVAG’s values to ensure all the land is protected.

The Subscription Rooms was full to capacity for the meeting, which aimed to share information about the work done so far by the HVAG, to gain residents’ feedback, and to get a sense of how committed the community is to helping fund a purchase of the land.

Stroud News and Journal: The audience at the Heavens Action Valley GroupThe land known as Thrupp Farm was expected to be put on the market in early March but this is now understood to have been put back a month.

The HVAG has met with the owner’s agent to express the community’s interest in buying the land.

The campaign has the support of several high-profile organisations like the National Trust and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, all the local councillors, the Conservative MP plus Labour and Green parliamentary candidates.

The meeting heard that the sum needed of around £750,000 would be raised through a community share issue, donations and other fundraising.

Supporters are invited to go online and pledge their support.

While HVAG is waiting to be legally registered Stroud Valleys Project, which is a registered charity, is accepting donations on its behalf.

SVP chief executive Clare Mahdiyone spoke at the meeting saying: “We have been managing public open spaces since 1988 and we hope we can look after this one too.”

Stroud News and Journal: Clare Mahdiyone speaking atMembers of the audience pointed out that both the Sub Rooms and the Oakbrook Community Farm were brought into public ownership thanks to community contributions community.

One member of the audience said: "This community has form for pulling together."

Action group member Ben Challis said: “"If this land was fenced off or parcelled up it would be a tragedy.

"When things really matter our community comes together and does amazing things, and this is one of those moments.

"This is the start of something, let’s save the Heavens together.”