Shock figures reveal Cotswolds homes crisis

A new set of figures shows the mountain people face when buying a house in the Cotswolds.

Houses like this are out of the reach of many younger people in the Cotswolds.

Houses like this are out of the reach of many younger people in the Cotswolds.

The National Housing Federation’s latest report on housing in the South West shows the Cotswolds as the most expensive place to live in the region.

The average house in the Cotswolds will set you back an eye £336,935 whilst the average salary in the area is just £18,762 a year.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for the Cotswolds, says the figures are alarming:

“The Cotswolds is often seen as a playground for the rich and famous, but the reality is very different. With wages well below the national average and the average house price twice that of nearby Gloucester the affordability gap is getting bigger and bigger. We have to find a way to build small scale affordable developments in line with what local villages and towns want.

“The problem is made so much worse by Tory-run Cotswold District Council’s dreadful lack of an up to date Local Plan as developers are simply ploughing ahead in a totally unplanned way.

“To add insult to injury, the Council’s administration has permitted thousands of holiday homes over the last decade. I’m astonished that Conservative bosses can be so out of touch with the reality of the situation for so many people living in our area.”

“Instead of concreting over the Water Park with thousands of holiday homes, the Council leaders should be sorting out small scale developments of affordable homes in villages and towns which need them.

“For those aged under 40 in particular the Cotswolds is fast becoming off limits for housing – that is an intolerable situation.”

County Council backs Air Balloon ‘experiment’ despite residents’ opposition

A proposal by the Highways Agency to change the junction lay out at the notorious Air Balloon roundabout has provoked an outcry from local residents. Gloucestershire County Council has confirmed it supports a trial change and is part funding it.


L to R: Road safety campaigners Nigel Robbins and Jane Edwards with Cllr Paul Hodgkinson at the Air Balloon roundabout

A combination of air pollution and gridlocked traffic has prompted the Agency to come up with an ‘experimental layout change’ at the junction. The change would mean that traffic coming from the Cirencester and Swindon directions will only be able to turn left to Gloucester, with barriers preventing it going to the Leckhampton Hill and A436 exits.

Cars coming from the Gloucester direction will have free unimpeded access onto the roundabout, meaning that it will be free flowing. The experiment is understood to last for 6 months.

Many local residents have reacted to the news with dismay. Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Churn Valley) has received over 100 emails and letters from people opposed to the scheme, “It’s been incredibly difficult getting hold of the Highways Agency to let them know the depth of feeling about this proposal. However, I’m due to speak to them shortly to let them know how people feel.”

“The cost of this experimental scheme will be £100,000 but from the HA’s own modelling air pollution will only show a slight decrease whilst CO2 emissions will rise along with journey times on other roads. All this for a projected saving of just 1 or 2 minutes for those using the A417!”

Nigel Robbins, road safety campaigner and ex principal of Cirencester College, is concerned about the impact on nearby villages, “This proposal – if it goes ahead – will lead to drivers using villages like Elkstone, Birdlip, Coberley and Winstone as rat runs to get to their destination. Traffic trying to get out of the A436 onto the roundabout will also cause longer tailbacks.”

We will keep you updated on the latest developments on this issue.







Air Balloon madness

Proposed changes to a notorious roundabout have been branded ‘madness’ by a leading councillor.

Air Balloon proposals

The Air Balloon roundabout has become infamous for accidents and bottlenecks as the A417 dual carriageway reduces to just one lane in each direction at Birdlip. Now, in an attempt to cut air pollution and solve the gridlock, the Highways Agency have come up with a ‘trial’ scheme.

The scheme would allow only traffic from Cirencester to turn left at the roundabout (towards Gloucester). In turn, traffic coming up the steep hill from Gloucester will have unimpeded access onto the roundabout.

Now, local residents are up in arms over the proposals. 

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson (Churn Valley) has described the proposals as ‘madness’,  “The Highways Agency does not plan to consult on their plan which is crazy. This could have a major impact on villages surrounding the Air Balloon and the A435 as drivers try to find other ways of getting to their destination. For example,  traffic from Cirencester may well use the A435 to get to Cheltenham instead of the A417.

“The HA’s own figures say that there would only be a slight reduction in air pollution at the roundabout if this scheme were implemented. They also say that CO2 emissions would actually go up!

“What about the people who live along the A436? Won’t their air quality plummet as cars are stuck for ages trying to access the roundabout?

“I’ve already had 100 emails and letters, of which all but 3 are opposed to this. The very least we should expect is a full consultation with those whose lives will be impacted on. We can’t possibly  have a situation where this scheme goes ahead regardless of public opinion.”

Cllr Hodgkinson has now written formally to the Highways Agency listing his concerns and pressing them to consult. A public meeting is likely in January to enable residents to have their say. More details to follow.