The Rodborough Fields Preservation Group would like to thank all the hundreds of people who visited their stall at the Rodborough Community Fete.

Many visitors expressed their concern at the outline planning application submitted last week by developers. The plans include house building on Rodborough Fields and a two lane road bridge over the river at Frome Banks.

Dozens of supporters assembled in Rodborough Fields later on Saturday Evening. Many were wearing red to signify the Stroud Scarlet cloth that was dried on tenterhooks in these fields.

The Rodborough Fields Preservation Group is opposed to development on Rodborough Fields and is working with others to secure its future as a valuable community asset, green space and key wildlife site. We support development in line with the local plan and planning guidelines.

Rodborough Fields & Frome Banks are woven into the historical, social, physical and emotional fabric, not only of Rodborough, but of Stroud and the Five Valleys.

Housing development on the fields, threatens to tear through that fabric, destroying an area of significance for many people – important to them all for a number of different reasons.

Heritage & Character of the Stroud Valleys

The fields are the site of a Medieval ridge and furrow farming system. They are the ‘racking fields’ shown in the significant historical painting of Stroud, where cloth from the dye-works at Capel Mill was dried in rows on ‘tenterhooks’.

The area of the current planning application adjoins the Cotswold AONB boundary. The rest of Rodborough Fields are within the AONB – these areas are vital for the character of the Stroud Valleys and the aspect of the AONB. The land is identified as a Key Wildlife Site outside both the current and proposed settlement boundaries.

A Key Wildlife Site

The fields are a fine example of a traditional hay meadow. In the summer they are ablaze with wild flowers such as Ox-eye Daisy, Buttercup, Knapweed and Clover, attracting many species of butterfly and  other insects.

The clear, unpolluted waters of the Frome and its wonderful tree-lined banks provide for birds including Kingfisher, Dipper and Grey Wagtail. Mammals include several species of Bat and Otter.

Although just a stone’s throw from the town, Frome Banks has a unique character and atmosphere. It is a little gem of a place. A new multi-million pound access bridge driven through the site would block the passage of wildlife along the river banks and destroy the habitats.

Many people use the footpaths that cross the fields and those along Frome Banks. These have existed for centuries. The fields are an important amenity for the residents of Rodborough, Stroud and vital for leisure, education and tourism.

One of the finest and quintessential views of the area that connects Rodborough Common to Stroud is under threat. With the national decline in wildflower meadows and wildlife habitats the whole area of Rodborough Fields & Frome Banks Nature Reserve are increasingly important to to the community and visitors to the Cotswolds AONB.

A call to action

We encourage all residents and visitors to the Stroud Valleys to submit their views.

You can submit comments online via the SDC website at: http://www.stroud.gov.uk/PLO/PlanningComments.aspx?par=S.13/1183/OUT