Tag Archives: Karen Bradley MP

LAVER APPLICATION – COUNTY COUNCIL EXPRESSES CONCERNS

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOWTO SEE A LETTER OF 3/10/14 WRITTEN BY A SENIOR TEAM LEADER OF SCC PLANNING, POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT CONTROL TO SMDC ASSOCIATE PLANNER ARNE SWITHENBANK.
YOU MIGHT WANT TO ASK HIM AND YOUR COUNCILLORS HOW IT IS THAT THE PLANS TO DEVELOP MONEYSTONE QUARRY AS A LEISURE THEME PARK ARE BEING RECOMMENDED FOR APPROVAL WHEN A SENIOR PLANNER HAS SO MANY VERY SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT THE APPLICATION AND THE STEWARDSHIP OF THE SITE.
DEMAND ANSWERS NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE TO STOP THIS UNACCEPTABLE DEVELOPMENT THAT RESIDENTS DON’T WANT.
DO WE LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY OR NOT ?

[gview file=”https://www.whiston-action-group.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/County-Council-Concerns-03-Oct-2014-to-SMDC.pdf”]

WAG Open Meeting attracts wide ranging public support.

 

WAG’s open public meeting at Whiston Village Hall on Friday evening (02 Nov 2012) attracted over forty members of the public, not only local residents but people from villages throughout the Churnet Valley and other parts of the Staffordshire Moorlands, demonstrating wide ranging interest in concerns raised by WAG. An opening statement emphasised that WAG’s rigorous evidence based approach is intent on passing on conclusions based on facts – not opinions or gossip. Presentations were given by several speakers on a variety of issues, the most contentious being the Core Strategy Submission; Village House Building Proposals; Laver’s failure to restore Moneystone Quarry in accordance with the legally binding restoration plan, and public health concerns regarding the contaminated site at the Old Bolton Copperworks.

The District Council’s Core Strategy document, consider by many to be neither legally compliant nor sound, is currently being considered by the independent Planning Inspectorate. The inspector, Mr Patrick Whitehead, is to hold a Pre-Hearing Meeting at 10am Tuesday 11 Dec 2012 at the Bethel Suite, Tape Street, Cheadle, where he will set out the procedure and arrangements for his formal examination to be held in February of next year at Leek Council Offices. Anyone who made representations about the Core Strategy is encouraged to attend.

The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), submitted as a last minute addition to the Core Strategy, raised many eyebrows. The document, compiled by SMDC officers in liaison with only landowners and developers, identifies and prioritises specific plots of land with housing potential in and around many villages in the Staffordshire Moorlands. Both during and after the meeting numerous attendees expressed their dissatisfaction with the complete absence of consultation by the District Council on this important issue.   The document has been submitted with the Core Strategy without public input.

On 11 Sep 2012 Laver Leisure circulated a letter to households in Whiston, Oakamoor and surrounding villages stating their intention of submitting within two weeks proposals to Staffordshire County Council to change the longstanding and legally binding requirement to restore Moneystone Quarry to farmland. No such application has been submitted and consequently, in the absence of any further communication from Laver to residents, a state of uncertainty exists within the community as to Laver’s future intentions.

The audience was surprised to learn that the Old Bolton’s Copper Works site is not recorded on the District Council’s contaminated land register, despite the council’s own specially commissioned Taylor Young Report identifying high levels of contaminants and a serious public health risk. In addition, a portfolio of evidence gathered from ex-employees pointing out precisely where contaminants are buried has been submitted to the council, who can have no excuse for failing to act. However, it is perhaps re-assuring that following representations from the Foxt Action Group the concerns have now been registered with the Environment Agency, with an investigation pending.

On a more positive note, there was considerable support for WAG’s Quiet Lane initiative, aimed at overcoming some of the tourist related traffic problems of increasing numbers of vehicles inappropriately using the Churnet Valley’s narrow country lanes. WAG has already received supportive comments from Karen Bradley MP, and now County Councillor Mike Worthington has been nominated by the Highway Authority to deal with the matter. WAG’s public survey of 100 road users demonstrated unanimous support from both residents and visitors. WAG’s proposal for a pilot scheme along The Red Road between Oakamoor and Alton, with suggested funding from Alton Towers monies committed as a condition under their last planning consent, is currently under consideration by Councillor Worthington. The pilot scheme would be a first step in achieving a network of Quiet Lanes in the core of the Churnet Valley, so that cyclists, horse riders and walkers could safely share our narrow lanes with slow moving vehicles driven with care and consideration.

Overall, a high level of enthusiastic support was received from attendees and after the meeting, Harry Blood, Chairman of Whiston Action Group, commented:-

 “I was very pleased with the turnout, particularly the interest and support shown by newcomers, as we continue to challenge inappropriate decisions that will affect our communities in the Churnet Valley for years to come. The importance of keeping locals in the picture on future plans for the Churnet Valley is exactly what the Government is expecting local councils to do. Sadly that message is largely ignored by SMDC. WAG is clearly filling a local need which is why the meeting went so well.”

 

Quiet Lanes in the Churnet Valley – interest from Karen Bradley MP

The WAG initiative encouraging Staffordshire County Council to give Quiet Lane designation to narrow lanes in the Churnet Valley has received welcome encouragement from Karen Bradley MP.  The initiative is aimed at encouraging drivers of vehicles to give greater consideration to walkers, cyclists and horse riders, thereby reducing road safety concerns emanating from sat-nav users and Alton Towers traffic taking short cuts on inappropriate roads.

Earlier in the year WAG conducted a survey of road users in the Churnet Valley the results of which demonstate wide support amongst both residents and visitors, across a wide spectrum of road users.

Extracts from Karen Bradley’s letter include:-

“You and the rest of the residents who have been involved in this project should be highly commended for the work that has gone into producing this piece of work.  The issue of “quiet lanes” in the Moorlands is something that I have raised previously in the House of Commons so it is pleasing to see you and other residents taking the initiative in this way.

I would be most interested to hear any further news about this project and will bear your comments in mind when I am talking to the relevant ministers.”

WAG is now progressing the initiative with County Councillor Mike Worthington, who has been nominated by Councillor Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council.

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:

https://www.staffsmoorlands.gov.uk/sm/your-council/meetings-agendas-and-minutes/service-delivery-overview-scrutiny-panel-5

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.

 

Better Tourism not More Tourism

Better Tourism not More Tourism

• Better quality of tourism to maintain the current numbers of tourists.
• Protect the area from the damaging effects of increased numbers.
• Current District Council proposals are at odds with the Government’s guidance.
• Planning policy should encourage development on Brownfield sites around the three towns and not the protected areas of the Churnet Valley.