I was delighted to read that Stroud is putting in a Levelling-up fund bid to the government, as it should have a good chance of attracting some investment into the town centre.
But what a pity to focus on spend money on rebuilding the Sub Rooms forecourt when there are so much better opportunities to revitalise the centre. Furthermore the High Street and Farmers Market already provide great spaces for mingling, and it would cost very little to put some trees in tubs that could also act as seats, a town orchard perhaps?
The priority for levelling-up surely is to get more people living near the centre by developing under-space for homes that can be rented to those on average incomes?
A good start would be for the Council to acquire the Market Tavern and adjoining land next to the Farmers Market, which has stood empty far too long.
Funds could be used to assess ways of making rental housing affordable, and reducing the over-supply of retail space, for example by using Compulsory Purchase powers to assemble good sites.
It would make a great ‘eco’ demonstration project, and would be ideal for cohousing.
But why stop there? While it is good to see work starting by the canal, there are many more sites that could be developed within a quarter of an hours walk of the centre and railway station that would reduce pressure on the surrounding hills and villages.
So if it not too late why not use the consultants to tackle the obstacles to people walking into town from the surrounding area, rather than creating a pseudo square that does not need levelling!
Dr Nicholas Falk,
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