There is a growing and very disturbing body of evidence that Officers of SMDC are out of control and feel able to ignore a very substantial amount of carefully prepared and detailed factual evidence presented to the Council in response to it’s proposals set out in, not one but two, versions of the Churnet Valley Master Plan.

Officers seem intent on pursuing their own ambitions for the Churnet Valley despite the repeated views of residents that they want ‘ minimum change’. The normal democratic checks and balances on the operation of the Executive seem no longer to apply to SMDC especially where the Churnet Valley Master Plan is concerned.

If Councillors want to retain their seats at the next election it is time that they seize back the democratic controls and despite any commitments Officers might have made to private commercial interests should now insist that it is Councillors,guided by the democratically expressed wishes of the electorate, that exercise the power and control of development in the Churnet Valley.

Councillors should acquaint themselves with the detail of the responses to the so called CVMP consultation, not simply accept the officer filtered executive version, and not allow those representations to be swept aside by the private ambitions of Officers and in the interests of democracy and their own re-election ensure that effect is given to the wishes of the residents who seek to protect the beauty and the environment of ‘our’ valley.