CONTROVERSIAL plans to wall off a corner of Stroud are being dropped, to the delight of traders, residents and civic guardians.
They objected to Dr Trevor Barnes’ application for the wall next to the Medieval Hall in Stroud’s High Street because it would have hived off a triangle of street space used by the public for decades.
But on Friday Dr Barnes’ wife said the application for planning permission to make the change was being withdrawn.
“It’s good news,” said Mike Goodenough, of Stroud bookshop Inprint next door, after hearing of the latest development.
“The space has been in use by the public for 30 years. I believe there were concerns about street drinkers but building a wall there is not the way to deal with the problem.”
He objected with five others to the planning application which stated it was to “separate private land from the street”. There was one letter of support for the application, made because of a problem of noise and disturbance from street drinkers who congregate there.
The hall was one of a number of buildings saved by protesters’ direction action in the 1980s, and it was restored by Stroud Preservation Trust.
Behind its 18th Century frontage is another timber-framed building, with a 15th Century window, wattle and daub panels and stone door lintels. Water has been found below, with a well behind it.
Leonora Rozee, former deputy chief executive of the Planning Inspectorate and Stroud resident, was one of those who complained to the council.
“The enclosure of this space as proposed is an unfortunate approach to addressing the
issue I understand is of concern - mainly the use of the land by drinkers,” she told the council.
“The new wall will enclose a space which was laid out for public use and it will have an impact on the setting of this important listed building. Spaces of this nature are characteristic of the historic fabric of the town and I believe its loss would risk undermining the enjoyment of this part of the town by residents, shoppers and those who work in the town.
“Shutting spaces off to public use is not necessarily the most appropriate or indeed the only solution to antisocial behaviour.”
Mrs Barnes said: “It’s been withdrawn. We are trying to look at other avenues of dealing with the street drinkers.”
On Monday, the application was officially withdrawn.