NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING

TOO LITTLE – TOO LATE

We are putting up this Post following the comments we have received, from Alsager residents across the community, in response to the questionnaire posted through letterboxes entitled Alsager Neighbourhood Plan – Have Your Say.

We note that potential respondents could live outside Alsager because the questionnaire does not require any indication of where you live and there is no identification of the area to be included in a Neighbourhood Plan. Multiple responses could be made so the survey fails to meet basic standards for a ‘scientific’ or even accurate methodology.

ARAG supporters will remember that we posted on this topic in September 2014 and the information is still available on our website under ‘Current Matters’.

The following observations and questions recorded below, from residents of Alsager, go some way to giving a flavour of the responses made to us.

  • Why are we not being asked, simply, if we want a NP or not? There is no space to say NO. There is no information about cost to us as Tax Payers or any sense of the benefits that a NP might have to offer
  • In particular there is a widespread view that this is about 4 years too late. Alsager has just been used by Cheshire East Council as a “dumping ground for developers.”
  • Councillors are now trying, too late, to remedy a situation that was made possible by their failure to competently represent the community they are elected to represent with most of the Town Councillors guilty of inaction.
  • Cheshire East Council has allowed developers free rein when permission has all too easily been granted by not enforcing conditions attached to sites (affordable housing, provision for the elderly and disabled etc).
  • We are now being asked to give a blank cheque for the development of a NP when the same Town Council refused to spend money at a time when a survey of Alsager’s infrastructural and highways needs and problems might have given residents, and council tax payers, some protection from rampant speculative development.
  • The Town Council has consistently refused to engage with the community or even to listen to it preferring instead to promote their own agenda and vanity projects. This has been the case even when requests have been fully researched, significant community support acquired and even at the expense of much needed jobs for the ‘neighbourhood’
  • The Town Council has told us repeatedly that they are not responsible for planning matters and that they have little influence as an ‘advisory’ body. Why then do we need a planning committee particularly one that is as limited in its level of competence and knowledge of planning law as the Town Council?
  • Given that a NP is required to nominate where development should take place and cannot be used to block building one must ask the question “Where is there left to build?”

Information Note:

The houses already approved, already in the Local Plan or pending approval is 2,449 with the possibility of a further 250 at White Moss giving a grand total of 2,699, which represents a 50% growth of the town without any planned infrastructure improvements.

Many have contacted us displaying anger and frustration, some even saying that they have torn up or otherwise disposed of their forms. We would encourage you to return your forms, possibly ignoring the questions of which many are irrelevant.

If you believe that it is TOO LITTLE – TOO LATE  you can simply say NO to a Neighbourhood Plan.