It looks like a timetable is falling into shape concerning the development proposals for Cresswell.
Two public meetings are now planned over the next seven days; we have a likely date for the crucial decision meeting; and, what’s more, the local MP has stepped into the debate, with some very strong views.
The application is for 168 homes and almost 35,000 sq ft of new industrial units, all on fields by the present Blythe Park industrial base.
The timeline now looks something like this:
Friday 31 October, 7pm, at Draycott Church Hall : an open meeting organised by Cresswell residents (through the VVSM community group) with the intention of forming an action plan
Monday 3 November, 7.30pm, at Draycott Church Hall : a public meeting organised by Draycott Parish Council at which the views and feedback of all can be expressed
Monday 17 November, 7.30pm at Draycott Church Hall : monthly meeting of Draycott Parish Council, at which the housing application will be voted on by councillors. Their recommendation (whatever it is) will then be passed up the line to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.
Friday 28 November: last day for comments from the general public (which must be submitted in writing or online) about the application
Thursday 18 December, at Leek: this is the likely (but not confirmed) date for the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Planning Applications Committee (where they must also take Draycott PC’s view into account). This is the crucial meeting.
The process is not finished at this point, but it does then become unpredictable.
Certainly the local VVSM community group has not been slow to get mobilised. Jacquie Leach tells us the application is so huge that she has had to print out thousands of pages off the internet just to make sure she has all the details on paper!
She also tells that she met up last week with Paul Hurdus, a Staffordshire County Council Highways officer. Traffic flows, which Scentarea, the applicants, estimate will be 100 HGV movements a day, may well be a point of controversy as time goes by.
However, discussion about the application cannot just be over whether the proposal will be good for Cresswell (and there are quite a few who think it will) or bad for Cresswell.
The only views that the SMDC committee will take into account must be ones, they say, based on solid planning reasons.
Jacquie said to us: “We are used to this. When we fought the gas power-station proposals (on the same site!) a few years ago, we researched the planning laws, and made sure we presented our case along planning lines. It’s the only way that they will listen to you.”
As part of VVSM’s meeting this Friday (Oct 31st), residents will be shown exactly in what form they should make their views known to make sure they are heard.
Bill Cash speaks….
One man has already pretty much made up his mind – our local MP Bill Cash.
He issued this statement last week, outlining a few planning reasons in his rejection of the proposals…
“Just as I successfully opposed the proposals for the Blythe Park natural gas-fired power station on land next to Blythe Park Business Park at Draycott-in-the-Moors, along with local residents a few years ago, so I will oppose these housing proposals.
“I have grave concerns over the infrastructure which is required for the proposed housing, as Cresswell is a small hamlet which simply cannot absorb the proposed development.
“The infrastructure is not in place to enable the housing and the associated traffic that comes with 168 homes, let alone the construction traffic travelling to and from the park.
“In terms of local schooling, there are not the schools and school places available in Fulford or Blythe Bridge for the children in those proposed developments to attend, and that needs full consideration.
“My constituents already have traffic congestion at the point where traffic reaches a junction from Sandon Road on to Uttoxeter Road.
“Furthermore, there have been several concerns raised about contamination in the past in this particular area which is well known by local residents. On that matter, it is notable there are conflicting reports, just as there were when flood reports were drawn up for the proposed power station plans.
“I also have concerns for Biodiversity Action Plan Species which are present; and mitigation measures to move those species are simply unacceptable.”
Clearly, it will be a busy few weeks!
However, if you are ready already to make your views known, just click on the ‘Comment’ button on the application page, or post your views in a letter to the Development Control Team at SMDC headquarters in Leek.
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