Cllr Lindsey Green is a district councillor for Berkeley Vale Ward and the Leader of the Conservative Group on Stroud District Council.
I find it my duty to convey our vision for our district, which is driven by a commitment to effective governance and an unwavering focus on the welfare of our constituents. Despite our status as the largest group within the Council, we find ourselves in the opposition, as Stroud District Council is presently governed by a Green-Led alliance, comprising members of the Green Party, a former Labour group now functioning as two separate independent groups, and the Liberal Democrats. The remaining Labour councillors have also found themselves in an opposition role.
The year 2024 heralds local elections, and our objective is to secure a majority, facilitating a transformative change that will empower us to take control of Stroud District Council. This shift is imperative, as we believe the current Green-led administration lacks the pragmatic approach necessary to efficiently provide essential services to our constituents. The Council appears more focused on achieving accolades for its unimportant initiatives, often paying lip service without translating their rhetoric into tangible benefits for the district. For instance, a prolonged issue concerning damp and mould within the region was insufficiently addressed until it garnered national attention, notably in the wake of the tragic incident involving Awaab Ishak and subsequent correspondence from Michael Gove to councils, emphasising the need to address this problem seriously. It is regrettable that Stroud District Council only displayed a heightened level of concern in response to this external pressure.
Another illustration of the administration’s inefficiency relates to the Local Plan, a process initiated in 2017, which recently underwent scrutiny during the examination in public. The ensuing report by inspectors outlined “fundamental concerns” and recommended that the Council consider withdrawing the plan from examination. We also share these concerns and find it perplexing that, despite the serious reservations raised, the Green-led administration, along with its officers, continues to press for a six-month extension. This persistent insistence to move forward reflects a detachment from the realities on the ground and places undue influence in the hands of leading officers.
Furthermore, the administration’s priorities seem disproportionately focused on initiatives like carbon neutrality, walking, and cycling, which, though laudable, may not have the anticipated positive impact on the majority of our residents. Their inability to secure government funding for the district is a glaring shortcoming, stemming from a disjointed bid that failed to recognise projects of significant deliverability and value.
In anticipation of assuming control of Stroud, we have outlined a comprehensive plan centred on our residents’ well-being. Local communities’ engagement with regional issues and projects will be paramount.
Our agenda also encompasses strengthening the planning and enforcement departments, ensuring strict adherence to planning regulations to dispel the perception that construction can proceed without consequences in the district. We will focus on housing developments in areas where they are needed, aligning with local preferences, protecting the greenbelt, and supporting necessary infrastructure—a departure from the current state of our Emerging Local Plan, which remains mired in disarray.
Our other priorities include revitalising our market towns, high streets, and local businesses, which have faced neglect in the past. Additionally, we must address the challenges posed by inhouse repairs and maintenance of our extensive council housing stock, characterised by excessive overspending and prolonged void property turnaround times, requiring a more effective strategy.
Efficiency and fiscal responsibility will be at the core of our governance, aiming to provide residents with the best possible services while maintaining minimal Council Tax levels. We will actively pursue all available funding opportunities to facilitate the realisation of essential projects, transforming our district into a desirable place to live, work, and enjoy life.
In conclusion, our vision for Stroud is one grounded in dedication to efficient and accountable governance, always mindful of our constituents’ well-being. We stand ready to assume the responsibilities of council leadership in Stroud, with a commitment to transparency, value for money, and the highest standards of public service. The upcoming local elections in 2024 present an opportunity to effect positive change, and we are resolute in our mission to make Stroud District a place where residents genuinely want to live, work, and thrive.