Local Plan response ‘woeful’

Only 145 people out of 243,000 in six towns have responded so far as part of public consultation for Cheshire East's Local Plan.

The Local Plan will set out where future housing, jobs, roads, schools, access to local health services and leisure facilities are located and runs until 2030.

Despite consultation events and displays in libraries, dedicated Facebook and Twitter campaigns, the response has been poor.

The six consultation towns are Crewe, Nantwich, Macclesfield, Knutsford, Poynton and Handforth.

Cllr David Brown, deputy leader, said: "I am absolutely astonished. We are a traditional rural area and we have the chance to keep it like that, and to influence where developments can and can't go.

"But the issue is being met with an almost stony silence. This is an opportunity of a lifetime – grab it with both hands.

"145 responses at this stage is woeful and I'm just hoping that it's because people are too busy.

"I can guarantee that if you do make the time to fill out a consultation form, it will be one of the best investments you'll make for you and your family's future."

Cllr Michael Jones, Conservative leader of Cheshire East, added: "We need your opinions to defend your towns and villages.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this generation to stand up and be counted and really make their mark.

"For all residents of Cheshire East, the Local Plan consultation is your time to decide what your neighbours, your neighbourhood, your roads, schools and countryside will look like over the next 20 years. You must tell us what you want!

"Some say that Cheshire East Council does not listen, but as Leader I can give examples of where residents have spoken up for themselves and have been listened to and have enjoyed a consultation victory.

"In Wilmslow where people were consulted on the Wilmslow Vision, also part of the Local Plan consultation, the community pulled together to make sure their views were heard by submitting around 1,500 completed questionnaires. That's the sort of spirit we want."

The consultation runs until 1 October 2012.

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It’s a shame the 1,500 responses were ignored when they came up with Wilmslow Vision, hence the uproar after it was released. Wilmslow Vision was a shambles. Perhaps people in the surrounding areas read of the debacle and decided that if CEC aren’t going to bother to listen, there’s little point in completing a consultation form. You reap what you sow CEC, and for most residents of CEC it’s scepticism.

By Nick

145? That’s actually quite good!

By A Planner

Local people and town/parish councils have been ignored over plans for Tatton Park, so don’t have much confidence CEC actually does listen! Have read the plan for my town and can’t say I’m overly impressed and will be submitting my comments shortly. Don’t necessarily oppose new development in greenbelt, but would expect sites to have had some planning work done on them (e.g. traffic, ecological and visual impact assessments, walking/cycling distances to town centre, etc.), not merely be chosen on the whim of some stakeholders. How are local residents expected to form an opinion when there is nothing more than a red line on a plan to look at? Also, if CEC want to get the community to accept new dev in greenbelt, tell them exactly how they are going to benefit. Sell it, not simply put it out there and get the usual NIMBY responses and then complain.

By Prairie Dog

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