Core Strategy to be submitted to Secretary of State

 At a full Council Meeting on Wed 25 July 2012 Staffordshire Moorlands District Council voted 29 to 15 in favour of submitting the Core Strategy document to the Secretary of State for consideration. The document sets out planning policy for the Staffordshire Moorlands through until year 2026 and has taken years to draft. In a raft of policies, it includes the intention of developing tourism throughout the Churnet Valley and considerable housing development in the towns of Cheadle, Leek and Biddulph and in rural villages. Whiston Action Group, along with many other objectors during the public consultation phase,  raised detailed concerns in relation to the legal compliance and soundness of the document.

The important decision was taken in the presence of a packed public gallery, in the face of numerous representations voiced by some district councillors, notably relating to the extent of housing in the Cheadle area; the inadequacies of the road infrastructure to cope with the scale of the proposed developments; heavy metal contamination issues at the old Boltons Copper Works and the apparent disinterest of the District Council in supporting the designation of the Churnet Valley as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A government inspector is now expected to be appointed to examine the document. The inspector may call upon objectors to meet him to provide evidence of their concerns.
District councillors serving Kingsley Parish Council (includes Whiston area) were present. It was noteworthy that despite WAG representations regarding the document not being sound, Councillor Elsie Fallows took no active part in the debate, and contrary to WAG hopes voted in favour of approval of submission of the Core Strategy.   District Councillors Clowes and Bull declared family interests in land at Cheadle and withdrew from the chamber at the start of the meeting and were unable to vote on the issue.
WAG will now prepare for the government inspection.

District Council Core Strategy – Working Party Meeting 10am Thursday 19 July 2012

Opportunities for the public to make representations to the District Council on the Core Strategy document closed on Friday 13 July 2012.   Officers have now prepared a report to be received by the Local Development Framework Working Group at 10am on Thursday 19th July 2012.

The District Council is about to decide whether to submit the Core Strategy document to the Planning Inspectorate with or without major changes.

Following comment by the Working Group, officers will present a formal report with recommendations to the main Council Meeting at 6.30pm on Wed 25 July 2012, when it is anticipated the decision will be made.

Public Comments on the Churnet Valley Options Report – Meeting at Moorlands House, Leek, 7pm Wed 18 July 2012

The results of the public consultation on the Churnet Valley Master Plan Options Report are to be presented in an officer report to the District Council at 7pm on Wednesday 18th April 2012 at Moorlands House, Stockwell Street, Leek.  Members of the public may observe from the public gallery.

The officer report summarises the 3695 individual comments made by the 226 respondents to the five options for tourism development in the Churnet Valley identified by the council.  The officer report is viewable on the district council’s website via the following link:

Support for the five development options was as follows:-

Refusal to select any of the District Council options                                         26%

Option A Minimal Development                                                                         44%

Option B  Dispersed Development                                                                       6%

Option C Northern Focus                                                                                     12%

Option D Froghall Focus                                                                                        7%

Option E Southern Focus                                                                                       5%


The next step is for the officers to write a draft Churnet Valley Master Plan that will need to conform to the council’s Core Strategy (yet to be finalised) and the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).  The meeting at 7pm on Wed 18 July 2012 at Leek presents an opportunity for you to listen to how the council receives the officer report.