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Talks to begin on future of former Ship Inn site

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The request for public consultation on the future of the former Ship Inn site will be discussed by Stonehouse town councillors at their meeting tonight, Monday, June 14.

The site of the former Ship Inn is currently held as an asset in Stroud District Council’s Housing Revenue Account and while it remains there, it can only be developed for new-build housing.

A Stroud District Council spokesperson said they would consult with the community and no final plans have been agreed.

A spokesperson said: “Stroud District Council is in the process of developing a strategy for the entire canal corridor which will involve key partners and communities across the district.

“We will explore a wide range of strategic possibilities along the canal, including the former Ship Inn site. 

“This includes much-needed housing as well as consideration of other potential community uses and benefits at this ‘gateway’ location, maximising the opportunities arising from the recent successful National Heritage Lottery Fund bid. 

“No final plans have been agreed and we will consult and engage with Stonehouse Town Council and the wider community during 2021.”

Stroud Times received a statement from Conservative councillors Nick Housden and Stephen Davies, who are keen to see the site not used for housing: “The Ship Inn site has had a difficult history and requires resolution and the Conservatives have a clear plan to achieve this.

“For the past 14 months, discussions have been ongoing between SDC, STC and ShIPS to try to find a way forward for the use of the land at the former Ship Inn site in Stonehouse.

“It has become clear that there remains a campaign led by local Labour District Councillors to put affordable housing on the site even though the Planning Inspectorate ruled that the site was not suitable for housing, and it has failed to get planning permission twice. This has resulted in some disagreements in the local Labour Party which actually contributed to the previous Labour County Councillor being deselected, before Cllr Nick Housden won the seat in May 2021.

“ShIPS and Stonehouse Town Council have been given the option to purchase the 0.6-acre site for £550,000. This is based on open market housing valuation which is proven not to be permissible for this site.

“Our proposal to resolve this impasse is simple. We set a clear timescale of six months for the Labour lead Stroud District Council to bring a plan forward that could succeed in getting planning permission, or the property must be moved out of the Housing Revenue Account. This will then mean that the property will be revalued recognising it is not a housing site. This would result in a more reasonable value which hopefully ShIPS and Stonehouse Town Council could afford, allowing this site to be developed. There is also a planned project to develop the canal corridor which this could be included in.

“We believe that this is a fair and reasonable approach and will put an end to the uncertainty over this site. The status quo and apparent lack of commitment or vision from the council on this issue are not good enough, the people of Stonehouse deserve better. Action on this issue must be forthcoming, the people of Stonehouse have waited long enough.”

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