Tag Archives: Staffordshire Moorlands

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.


Councillor Lobbying

Harry Blood, WAG Chaiman, delivering the WAG Alternative Masterplan to the District Council.
  • A printed copy of the WAG Alternative Masterplan document was delivered to all 56 Staffordshire Moorlands district councillors to assist in their understanding of the issues relating to the development proposals.
  • Copies of the document were circulated by e-mail to parish council clerks in the Staffordshire Moorlands for the information of all parish councillors.
  • Support is ongoing to District Councillor Linda Malyon in her bid for Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB) status for the Churnet Valley.
  • Support has also been sought from Staffordshire County Councillors Atkins and Worthington in connection with a “Quiet Lanes” initiative put forward by WAG with the aim of preventing an increase in traffic problems on the valley’s narrow lanes.  More detail on the initiative is provided on the Quiet Lanes page.
  • WAG intends to further reach out to councillors through either a road show or centralised meeting to deliver a presentation and provide an opportunity for discussion on issues raised by the WAG Alternative Masterplan.

What’s Happening?

What’s Happening?

• Proposed tourism development on a large scale in the Churnet Valley without adequate public consultation.

• Laver Leisure proposals for Moneystone Quarry – much public opposition to scale and nature of the proposals.

• District Council Core Strategy – planning policy until 2026 – serious doubts about its legal compliance and soundness.  Secretary of State yet to approve it.

  • Two rounds of public consultation triggered a wave of public criticism of the draft Core Strategy, challenging its legal compliance and soundness.
  • 12 Sep 2012 the District Council submitted the Core Strategy to the Secretary of State for inspection, at the last minute inserting a controversial document called the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), showing sites for proposed housing that had been developed in private with land owners and developers, without any consultation with the public.
  • An inspector from the Bristol based Planning Inspectorate has now been appointed, to whom WAG is making representations.

• Churnet Valley Master Plan – Options Report  –  Just five options were put before the public for consultation none of which are acceptable.

  • Overwhelming public view that only minimal development should take place in the Churnet Valley.
  • The District Council is now selecting one option and writing the draft Churnet Valley Master Plan.


• Draft Churnet Valley Master Plan to be brought forward by the District Council.

• When the Core Strategy and Churnet Valley Masterplan have been approved developers are likely to make planning applications.

District Council Failings

District Council Failings

  • District Council failure to adequately consult with residents.
  • Flawed method of identifying Key attractions and opportunity sites.
  • Outside commercial interests have shaped the plans for business profit.

District Council Processes

• 15 Nov 2011  – CV Masterplan Options Report was put before the SMDC Cabinet.
• Despite concerns expressed by Residents at the meeting about the process, contents, ‘evidence’ and conclusions of the Masterplan, the Cabinet approved the document for public consultation.
• 16 Jan 2012 Options Report released for public consultation until 24 Feb 2012.
• On the same date 800 pages of ‘evidence’ posted on SMDC website.
• Five options presented without justification – public expected to comment within an unrealistic time frame.

W.A.G. Probing

• WAG has gathered evidence of the failure of the District Council to follow its own Statement of Community Involvement in the consultation process.
• There are grave concerns about the Core Strategy that may lead to a Public Inquiry.
• Consequently, any further work on the Churnet Valley Master Plan is premature.
• The lack of openness by the District Council has given rise to WAG preparing an alternative plan for consideration, that may be presented to a Government Inspector in his review of the draft Core Strategy.

W.A.G. Assertions

• The entire preparation of a draft Core Strategy and Churnet Valley Masterplan is flawed.
• The lack of supporting evidence and public consultation require that the process should start again from scratch.
• Production of a flawed draft Core Strategy and Churnet Valley Masterplan without full and properly conducted evidence-based research and community involvement renders it open to challenge in the courts.
• WAG invites the District Council to reflect on its processes to date and whether they would be supported by independent scrutiny.