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Campaign to purchase Stroud beauty spot


Residents have launched a campaign to buy a beloved beauty spot that is set to be placed on the market.

The Heavens, in Stroud, is a 102-acre area of land used widely by locals and visitors, which has a waterfall and meadows.

Residents attending Monday’s public meeting at the Stroud Subscription Rooms, agreed that the Heavens Valley Action Group (HVAG) should go ahead and attempt to buy the 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 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, our MP and Labour and Green parliamentary candidates. 

The meeting heard that the sum needed, around £750,000, will 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 about her support for the HVAG campaign, saying: “We have been managing public open spaces since 1988 and we hope we can look after this one too.” 

Members of the audience pointed out that both the Sub Rooms and the Oakbrook Community Farm were brought into public ownership thanks to contributions from the community. As one member of the audience said, “This community has form for pulling together.” 

Summing up the meeting, action group member Ben Challis said: “A lot of people have, like me, grown up in the Heavens. A lot have come more recently and fallen in love with the place. It’s so important to the whole community. 

“We know from what happened at Verney Fields and Juniper Hill Field the potential risks of land being sold. If this land was fenced off or parcelled up it would be a tragedy. We have the opportunity to do something that will leave a lasting legacy. 

Everyone has a stake in this. 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.”

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