Why Stroud District?
Stroud District’s green economy sets it apart from the rest of the UK. As recycling was just entering the public consciousness, wind turbines were starting to turn in Stroud. Our progressive and dynamic approach to green energy was ignited years before it was part of the national conversation.
The global movement, Extinction Rebellion was founded here. Whatever your approach to tackling the climate emergency, every single one of us needs to act.
Stroud District is leading the way. We’re proud to be activists. Stroud District Council was one of the first local authorities in the UK to declare a climate emergency in 2018 and made a commitment to do ‘everything within the council’s power’ for the district to become carbon neutral by 2030. We’re well on the way.
Stroud is the natural place to locate a green tech or climate conscious organisation.
Between 2030 and 2050, Green Technology, Low Carbon and Renewable Energy Economy (LCREE) jobs will have grown by 64% to 2,815 in the District.
South Gloucestershire and Stroud College have been awarded funding to continue the development of a renewable energy and retrofit training centre
Stroud District is home to a number of green tech businesses, including McMurtry Automotive, who are seeking to improve the EV automotive sector with innovative engineering methods.
In Stroud, we innovate. We develop and attract creators, big-thinkers and change-makers. Gloucestershire is an innovation leader in the UK and Stroud District plays a key part.
We’re surrounded by innovative businesses in green-tech, high-tech engineering and advanced manufacturing, agri-tech and regenerative farming. Local companies such as Ecotricity and Green Fuels are at the forefront of innovation in renewable fuel sources, hydrogen, SMART grid and battery storage, and electric vehicle charging.
We are focussed on regeneration – creating something new from our proud industrial heritage.
The manufacturing sector in the district is bucking national trends and seeing growth in both employees and productivity, being worth £818m to the local economy and our leading employment sector.
New highly innovative businesses are supported at the early stages of their life through the county’s Growth Hub Network.
Over 6,000 enterprises located in Stroud district.
Gross Value Added (GVA) is in excess of £2,642m (2018)
Biggest employers: Manufacturing 20% (national average 8%), Wholesale, Retail and Repair of Motor Vehicles 16% and Human Health and Social Work 12%.
Stroud District attracts and retains talent. People want to stay, and people want to move here.
Close to major transport links, we’re just 87 minutes on the train from London and 37 minutes to Bristol. The quality of life the district offers makes it a natural place for skilled workers looking to find a greener place to live, work and raise a family.
Homeworking since the pandemic has increased the diversity of skills, talents and experiences among the workforce as people seek homes in green spaces. Dynamic workspaces are enabling more flexibility meaning we are continually drawing new and exciting talent into the district.
We nurture home-grown talent.
Stroud is a well-educated district, with higher qualified residents than the national average.
Stroud District has the second lowest unemployment figures across Gloucestershire, with only 3% of the residents currently unemployed, well below the national average.
Stroud was named the best place to live in the UK in 2021. It’s a big title to live up to, but our people make that easy.
Stroud District is home to people who care. An independent and passionate spirit of open-mindedness and motivation means we can immerse ourselves in nature while taking the action needed to safeguard it for future generations.
Our vibrant and diverse communities each have their own strong sense of identity and local distinctiveness. Communities are tight-knit but welcoming and curious. We communicate, challenge, and look after each other.
The district’s historic landscapes and buildings and thriving artistic and cultural scene anchor our communities and connect generations.
50%+ of the district is in The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
10 Ofsted Outstanding schools in Stroud District
5.5 miles of fully accessible multi-use path and wildlife corridors are used by 250,000 people per year.
We are connected yet distinct.
From Stroud District, travelling by train is easy from any of our three stations (Cam & Dursley, Stonehouse and Stroud) to Gloucester, Cheltenham, London, Swindon and Bristol. Our proximity to the M4 and M5 ensures quick and efficient road links to the Midlands, the North and the South West. Never ready to stand still, more stations are planned, connecting people door to door for work and play.
We are steeped in our heritage and committed to regeneration - our vision for the canal network will make it the first choice for active travel and recreation. Traffic free routes linking towns, communities, workplaces, schools, activities and green spaces will offer pedestrians and cyclists priority routes for sustainably safe travel.
Naturally, our new homes are built with zero carbon in mind, pairing high quality design with built-in sustainability. Close to our town centres, public transport links and with cycling and walking routes planned in, we are rethinking the way people live, work and travel. Fit for a future we can all be proud of.
A bid for a new Stonehouse rail station is in progress
A major milestone in the restoration of the canal, The Ocean railway bridge near Stonehouse was replaced Cotswold Canals Connected partnership.
We have railway stations in the district which have direct links to Gloucester, Cheltenham, Swindon, London, and Bristol.
Stroud District is pioneering. We challenge conventions; supporting and demanding sustainable development that delivers for businesses, the community, and the environment.
We have a strong and prosperous economy, home to world-class companies and an innovative and successful small business sector.
Businesses across sectors including cyber-tech, agri-tech, engineering aerospace, advance manufacturing and clean and green sustainable growth are locating here. The district is fertile ground for start-ups too, with a talented and driven workforce, excellent links to the rest of the UK and incubator support high on the local agenda.
The district attracts and retains talent, thanks to the quality-of-life on offer. This rich pool of talent means businesses can tap into a ready-made skilled workforce but can also confidently offer relocation to a district that is home to ‘the best place to live in the UK’ (Stroud town, Sunday Times, 2021). We have a progressive and motivated educational sector who form partnerships with key businesses in the district to skill and shape the workforce of tomorrow.
The Council is an active partner in regeneration initiatives and is keen to work with public and private partners to deliver transformational change.
Recent successful schemes include; delivery of a hospital, employment and over 400 new homes on a former industrial site at Littlecombe in Dursley.
There are well established commercial markets within the A38/M5 corridor, at Stonehouse, Stroud, Cam/Dursley, Berkeley/Sharpness and the Stroud Valleys.
Further business space provision is being made to meet the needs of specific sectors and businesses
Visitors and Tourism
It’s beautiful here. Our district is rich in heritage, culture, and exceptional landscapes, many of them areas of outstanding natural beauty. Our southern Cotswolds setting of picturesque stone cottages gives us literary and historical connections with global reach. Add our people and energy into the mix and it's no surprise that Stroud District has a flourishing tourism economy. A focus on low-impact and sustainable forms of tourism draws a wide demographic of socially conscious visitors.
The district’s unique combination of cultural, industrial and natural heritage with town centres rich in independent retail means it’s a natural choice for day visits or a longer escape from the norm. We welcome thousands of visitors every year while remaining true to supporting low impact and sustainable tourism.
We’re a district of do-ers which means there are events, festivals, celebrations , circuses and experiences happening all year round.- Visitors discover stories of industrial heritage, innovation and natural history that make our little patch of Britain the natural gem that it is.
From our Cotswolds setting to the River Severn coastline, we’re green in thinking and in landscape, with stunning environmental assets and European, national, and local designations of importance. Enveloped in green space with a sparky energy and distinct personalities woven throughout our towns and villages, here visitors explore communities, ideas and innovation, as well as beautiful surroundings.
The tourism and the visitor economy sector made up 5% of the local economy in 2019
Tourism is worth £112.4M GVA to Stroud District (2019).
Day visitors per year –
- 2021: 2,104,000
- 2020: 1,393,000
- 2019: 2,749,000
Our Climate & Ecology Commitment
Naturally, we are progressive with our approach to tackling the climate and ecology crisis, ambitious with our plans and ahead of the game.
We are the first local authority in Europe to make its own operations carbon neutral. Our climate strategy seeks to a protect our district’s character and communities working to a carbon neutral, resilient 2030.
Built Environment - Our energy efficiency programme Warm and Well has improved household health, comfort and efficiency for 1000s of homes. In 2018/19 alone, Warm and Well in Stroud saved 32.95 tonnes of CO2.
Energy - We are focused on staying within the recommended carbon budget, working with key partners like the Gloucestershire Sustainable Energy Strategy and increasing renewable generation on our own council buildings.
Natural Environment - Our award-winning natural flood management project is reducing the risk of flooding in the River Frome catchment. Working with landowners we have introduced 390 woody dams, planted 1500 trees and are repurposing land for rewilding. Our ongoing canal regeneration work has already delivered 100 nesting boxes, a new wetland habitat and fish and eel passes. – this new habitat has already attracted otters and water voles.
Mobility - We are committed to the difficult task of removing our dependence on the private car. Our sights are set on reducing air pollution and congestion and supporting economic recovery through increased connectivity and mobility innovation.
Economy – We are home to Ecotricity, green energy specialists, plus many more companies active in green technology. Green tech companies are located alongside learners at Berkeley Science and Technology Park to develop and exploit Gloucestershire’s green talent pipeline.
Waste - We achieve high household waste recycling rates. Collections by our food waste teams every month produce enough gas to heat around 200 homes and make 450 tonnes of fertiliser.
Community – The commitment of local residents to mitigate climate change drives our priorities. We have invested over £45000 in funding 50 community groups through the Community Resilience Fund and support Transition Stroud to coordinate and grow a forum of 18 community led Climate Action Networks.
To view our full Climate Strategy click here.
Stroud District Council declared a climate emergency in 2018 - one of the first councils to do so.
We are increasing renewable generation on our own council buildings. Our hydro-electric generation at Dudbridge has so far produced 480MWh of electricity, saving 252 tonnes of CO2 emissions to Spring 2020 and our photovoltaic (PV) systems have generated more than 643600 kwh of electricity since their installation in December 2011.
Culture and Heritage
Stroud District has a unique heritage, from our majestic landscapes to historic buildings and settlements. It’s what makes us who we are. Our culture and heritage are woven into everything from settlements, business, tourism, to filming locations.
We have 41 conservation areas in the Stroud District, from sites in densely populated town centres, such as Stroud, Dursley and Berkeley, to the wide-open spaces of Sharpness Old Dock and Stratford Park; from Bisley and Box, to impressive industrial heritage at Stanley Mills and Stroud Station.
Over half our district is designated an Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB). Not only do we have an exceptionally high-quality landscape, but part of the character and interest of the Cotswold AONB is derived from its historic buildings and settlements. From the rolling wold tops scattered with farmsteads and hamlets to the steep Stroud valleys, where weavers’ settlements cling to the slopes and ancient trading routes are incised into the limestone; and the dramatic form of the Cotswold scarp, which plunges down to the Severn Vale.
Our Vision and Ambition
Our vision for the future of Stroud District is rooted in the environment. We will develop and nurture our communities and spaces while staying true to our commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030.