Skip to content

What people told us & our response

We want your feedback.

Help us shape the vision for a sustainable community at Wisloe via the feedback form, or email wisloe@social.co.uk.

What we did

A website at www.wisloe.co.uk was launched and we sent a newsletter to more than 4,000 addresses. The website and newsletter included information on the concept plan and the vision.

People were encouraged to share their thoughts through an interactive map, an online survey, or a freepost survey enclosed with the newsletter.

A dedicated email address and telephone number was set up and is still available for anyone to contact the project team directly.

We also spoke with community groups, local councillors, local parish councils, the local MP, businesses and other local organisations.

What we found out

Several key themes have emerged from the engagement, including the desire to see the following in the proposals:

  • Enhancing wildlife and biodiversity
  • Protecting local villages identity
  • A design that complements the surrounding area
  • Improved walking and cycling connections
  • Attractive green spaces

The following were identified as highest priority in terms of features for the new settlement:

  • Trees and woodland
  • Off road walking, running and cycling routes that connect to new and existing destinations
  • Areas for wildlife
  • Open green space for play and exercise
  • Wetland areas and ponds

Key concerns also included:

  • Traffic
  • Process and the landowners' roles as organisations in proposing the development
  • Flooding/sewage
  • Pollution (noise and air quality)
  • The gas pipe running through the site
  • Protecting the identity of existing villages (preventing coalescence with existing neighbouring communities)

This valuable feedback has ensured the masterplan responds to what people want to see and their priorities. It has also enabled the masterplan and other activity to begin responding to concerns raised.

It will be important to continue addressing the key concerns raised. As more information becomes available, as detailed plans progress, information will be shared with the communities to continue the transparent and collaborative approach established.

As the project progresses anyone who wishes to be involved will be encouraged to help shape detailed plans.

Feasibility

The report confirms it is possible to reroute the pipe. Of the three options explored, option one - rerouting the pipe along the east of the site adjacent to the M5, before routing along the northern boundary – is preferable.

By moving the pipe to the edge of the site, this option gives maximum flexibility to design a new community at Wisloe in the best possible way. It allows the pipe to be rerouted alongside a landscaped earth mound that will be created to help block noise from the motorway. This bund will shield people in Slimbridge from the motorway as well as providing open space, areas of tree and woodland planting and new habitats for wildlife.

Where the pipe will run across the north of the site it will be located within generous areas of green spaces for the enjoyment of the local community as well as plants and wildlife.

Impacts

As well as benefits, rerouting the pipe presents some impacts which must be managed.

The alignment of the diverted gas main will be carefully considered to minimise removal of vegetation. Generally, the route will run through the edge of open areas requiring no removal of vegetation.

This option will potentially require the removal of a limited area of trees and vegetation where the new route crosses the A4135. The route will be aligned to meet the A4135 and existing hedgerows at 90 degrees to minimise vegetation removal (using existing openings or gaps in vegetation where possible).

Where vegetation must be removed appropriate tree and ecological surveys will be carried out.

Any removal of trees or lengths of hedgerow will occur in autumn/winter to avoid the bird nesting season. Once the gas main is installed appropriate replacement planting will include wildflower grassland, hedgerows and trees/woodland where possible.

Overall, the proposed development will provide approximately 40 ha of green infrastructure which will include extensive new tree, woodland and hedgerow planting and wildflower meadows. This will provide a significant net gain in vegetation cover and biodiversity.

Next steps

As the report details, there is still further work to be done to reroute the pipe. The report is a feasibility study prepared on behalf of WWU. We will conduct further detailed work on the pipe as the plans progress and will make this information available online when it is complete.

Confirmation that the pipe can be rerouted is good news for the project and for the local community, particularly those who live near it. We will continue to work closely with WWU, Stroud District Council and the local community as our plans progress.

Plans will feature the best practice Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) that intercept and manage rainwater through enhanced natural drainage.

A new development at Wisloe will be required to match what's termed as existing 'greenfield runoff rates', which looks at the amount of water that flows from the site when it rains. We are exploring how our plans could reduce this rate to decrease the flood risk for neighbouring homes and businesses and help increase the area's resilience to climate change.

Our masterplan report explains how this could be achieved. Permeable pavements, rain gardens – small depressions full of plants that can withstand being occasionally inundated with water - and tree pits will all store water and allow it to soak into the ground. These features will be fully integrated into the design to provide a natural and attractive solution.

New ponds will also be established to hold water but also provide a home for wildlife and plants and become an attractive part of the landscape.

Responding to recent flooding

We are aware of flooding that happened locally during winter 2020/21. We are liaising with partners in the area to gain a better understanding of this flooding and why it happened.

According to the Environment Agency, the majority of the Wisloe site has a “low probability” (Flood Zone 1) of flooding. There are parts near the River Cam at the northern boundary that lay within Flood Zone 2 and 3 and so have a higher probability of flooding.

The Environment Agency's “Flood Risk from Surface Water” indicates that the majority of the site lies within a “Very Low” risk area.

These Environment Agency descriptions are a starting point, and we recognise that we must look at this more closely.

As we learn more about the flooding that occurred last winter and our plans for a new community at Wisloe progress, we will provide more detail on exactly how the project team will protect against flooding in the new development at Wisloe and for people who already live in the area. Please get in touch if you think you can help us understand this issue better.

Green spaces

A new community at Wisloe will be defined by the richness of its green spaces. These spaces will benefit the community and wildlife. By cleverly locating some of this space, it will act as a buffer to stop what's called 'coalescence' with the surrounding villages.

We want the new community to be accessible and connected to what's already here. The new community will offer benefits for people already living in the area with new community facilities, a new school and improved connections. For example, new cycle routes, footpaths and a footbridge over the M5 will provide better access to the Cam & Dursley train station.

New welcoming footpaths will be designed to lead people through wetland areas, woodlands and meadows around the site. The position of some footpaths will also help stop the surrounding villages of Slimbridge, Gossington, Cambridge, Cam and Dursley coalescing into one village.

Neighbourhoods

The masterplan breaks the new community into three distinct areas - Wisloe Village, Lighten Brook and River Cam Edge. Each area will have its own identity, reflecting the character and landscape of the Severn Vale. By creating multiple smaller communities that better reflect those in the existing villages, we will create communities that fit with and add value to those that already exist.

Walkable neighbourhoods

A new community at Wisloe will be focused around two new walkable neighbourhoods. Community facilities, jobs, leisure opportunities and new green and public spaces will benefit new residents, and the existing communities of Cambridge, Slimbridge, Cam and Dursley. This will reduce the need for people to drive.

Removing through traffic from Dursley Road will create a pleasant green walking and cycle link from Cambridge to the new community and its facilities and other walking and cycle routes have been designed to ensure clear and direct routes are available throughout the site for commuting and leisure use.

New traffic light-controlled walking and cycle crossing points are also proposed to improve access across the A38 to Slimbridge and the west.

Public transport

A new walking and cycling bridge over the M5 will create better access to Cam & Dursley Station for residents in the new community, and existing residents of Slimbridge and Cambridge. This will improve access to the mainline between Gloucester and Bristol.

This link will also connect the Cam, Dursley and Uley Greenway with National Cycle Route 41 – providing links to the Cotswolds to the east and to the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal and WWT Slimbridge to the west.

An integrated bus route is proposed to run through each part of the site, connecting Cambridge and Slimbridge with the new neighbourhoods and with the sustainable transport link where it connects to the new bridge over the M5, and to wider destinations on the bus network.

Private vehicles

Vehicle access will be through two new gateways off the A38, with improved access across the A4135, including pedestrian and cycle facilities to link each part of the site.

Electric vehicle charging will be provided to all properties, with on street charging facilities in the village centres and other key locations. Opportunities to provide bike hire facilities, car clubs, car-sharing schemes and other measures to support sustainable transport will be investigated as the project progresses.

Noise

Results of a sound survey informed an initial assessment of acoustic constraints. The main source of environmental noise at the site is vehicles on the surrounding roads, and particularly the M5.

A landscaped earth mound will help block noise from the motorway. This bund will shield the new development and people in Slimbridge from the motorway as well as providing open space, areas of tree and woodland planting and new habitats for wildlife.

The scale and scope of this will be reviewed to provide an optimum design to reduce noise whilst also being sympathetic to the landscape.

The masterplan has been designed so that garden areas are located behind homes, so gardens are screened from the roads by buildings.

Window sizes, glazing, considered ventilation and internal layouts will ensure internal sound levels inside new homes are appropriate.

Additional mitigation options will also be reviewed during the detailed design of the scheme.

Air quality

Concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide, and polluting particles in the atmosphere in 2022 were predicted by receptors surrounding the site. The assessment identified that NO2 pollutant concentrations across more than 95% of the site area are below what's acceptable for new homes.

The only area with pollutant concentrations above or close to the acceptable limits are within 12 m of the boundary from the M5. Levels of particles PM10 or PM2.5 were found to be within agreed limits within the site boundary.

Whilst air quality is considered acceptable across most of the site, we will consider more detailed work to factor in the impact of traffic related to the development as we progress.

This is happening as drivers rapidly adjust their travel habits and increasingly move away from car use. This in turn will see less emissions from combustion engines. We want to create a place at Wisloe that supports this move to cleaner, more sustainable ways of travelling.

What we have done

To better understand the quality of the land identified for a new community at Wisloe the project team commissioned Soil Environment Services to carry out a survey in 2019. They suggested most of the site was Grade 3b.

The findings of the SES report were subsequently reviewed by an independently commissioned report conducted by Askew Land and Soil, which suggested the site was ALC Grade 2.

The Ernest Cook Trust and Gloucestershire County Council take their role as responsible landowners very seriously. In response to this review, they instructed the project team to commission a new soil survey (with a different organisation – Kernon Countryside Consultants) to give them and the community confidence in the Agricultural Land Classification grade assigned to the site.

This new survey confirmed the site was ALC Grade 2. This defines the land as 'very good quality agricultural land with minor limitations which affect crop yield, cultivations or harvesting'.

Whilst this most recent report grades the land a higher quality for agricultural use, the project team remains of the view that the site is suitable for a new sustainable community at Wisloe, balancing land quality alongside many other factors.

This classification is only one factor to consider on the suitability of a site for development and, in consultation with Natural England, we will explore ways to conserve the better-quality soils. For example, we are exploring using the areas containing the best soils for the gardens, playing fields, allotments, community orchards and parks that will define the new community at Wisloe.