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Latest news on historic beauty spot in Stroud

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Stroud District Council has designated the core part of Thrupp Farm in Stroud, known as the Heavens Valley, as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). 

The ACV covers around 10 acres of the 102-acre Thrupp Farm site, which is currently up for sale. 

The application for the land to be registered as an ACV was submitted by Stroud Common Wealth, a not-for-profit company that supports the ownership of property for community benefit. Over the past 25 years Stroud Common Wealth directors have helped to bring Lansdown Hall, The Exchange on Brick Row and Oakbrook Community Farm into community ownership or use.

Stroud Common Wealth’s aim in submitting the application was to support the resolution made in a packed public meeting at the Subscription Rooms earlier this year to try to buy the valley and surrounding farmland to be owned by the people of Stroud for ever. 

This designation means that the area where the ACV has been applied cannot be sold for six months to allow the community – represented by the Heavens Valley Community Benefit Society (CBS) – to conclude their bid. Although the landowner is under no obligation to then sell to the community, it is believed that the landowner is prepared to accept a well-designed and fair-priced bid by the local community.

The news comes just weeks after the Heavens Valley Action Group, formed last year by residents and local councillors, gained legal status as a Community Benefit Society (CBS), meaning it can now accept donations. 

The Heavens 2 | Latest news on historic beauty spot in Stroud
The Heavens Valley. Pic: Hannah Bigwood.

Lucas Schoemaker, director of Stroud Common Wealth, commented: “This is a great first step in protecting the Heavens Valley. If the Heavens Valley CBS can purchase the site it will ensure community use for generations to come and to further enhance the wonderful natural eco-system of the site.”

He urged residents who have not yet pledged money for the campaign to contribute. “It really is important now that everyone in the community comes together and pledges as much as possible so the land can be secured for the people of Stroud,” he said.

Karen Thomas, coordinator of the Heavens Valley CBS, said: “This is wonderful news. It has been an anxious wait while the application went through the process so we are relieved and delighted by this latest positive step.

“We are more determined than ever to achieve a purchase on behalf of the whole Stroud community, to ensure this land, beloved of generations of residents, remains open for everyone to walk, sit and play in for ever, is managed for nature and biodiversity to thrive and is protected from inappropriate development.

“We look forward to working with the current landowner to ensure this is achieved.

“In the meantime our fundraising efforts continue and we really appreciate all pledges made.”

Pledges can be made at: https://www.heavensvalley.org.uk/pledge

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