Shock result over Cresswell planning

It was the outcome that nobody expected.
Despite over 170 letters of objection from local people, a stiff letter of opposition from local MP Bill Cash, and a formal objection from Draycott Parish Council – not to mention a ‘recommendation to refuse’ from the planning experts at SMDC -, the councillors on the Staffs Moorlands District Council Planning Committee today decided to support a plan to double the siz of the Blythe industrial park and build 170 new homes in Cresswell.
It was a shock result.


In the committee room’s public gallery were just under a dozen protesters, organised by Draycott’s local community action group VVSM.
(However, despite the importance of the day, only one Draycott Parish councillor, Pauline Clarke, had turned up to this meeting; there are seven Draycott Parish councillors.   See local PCouncil votes on application).

Three of the VVSM group – Jacquie Leach, Shelagh Wood and Nick Holdcroft – stood up to speak in the public participation slot, and they all urged the councillors on the committee to understand the strength of local opposition, as well as the views of the expert planners – and thus to turn down the application.  They were followed by our local district councillor, – Colin Pearce, who also expressed his total unhappiness concerning the plans.

Cresswell proposal

Cresswell proposal – planned new build is in pink colouring. The railway is the line along the top of this graphic

Against them, In support of the plans, spoke representatives from the applicant MJ Barrett, and a spokesman from The Greenhouse People, a firm that is located on the Blythe Industrial Park, who said that the units on the park were stuffed to bursting and needed more space.

The councillors on the committee seemed to split along party lines.   Linda Malyon of the Moorlands Democratic Alliance Party and Mahfooz Ahmad of the Labour Party seemed angry that other members of the committee were going to go against local opinion.
But those councillors in favour of the application – especially Councillors Jim Davies and Michael Worthington – pointed out that the Moorlands area was under pressure to build more houses – and these in Cresswell fitted the bill.


Afterwards, Jacquie Leach, who lives in the centre of Cresswell, said she was stunned: “I am so upset…  I’m upset for all the VVSM supporters who worked so hard …  and I’m upset for the ordinary people of Cresswell who thought they could trust councillors. We know the local MP supported us strongly – Bill even came to our meeting …   This application just seems so unreasonable to nearly everybody!  When you think that even the council’s own planning officers recommended refusal, it’s just so hard to see what those councillors could have been thinking…  I’m bewildered!

The final vote was seven councillors for the application and four against.


What next?
It seems unclear.  Can this planning committee vote be overturned by the full membership of the Staffs Moorlands Council?  Or not?

And beyond that…?  Possibly an appeal … but by whom?  And appeals can cost a deal of money.

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7 responses to “Shock result over Cresswell planning

  1. Justify reasons...

    Each councillor who has voted for the planning go-ahead of these houses should be made to justify their decision/reasons – and more so as I thought their jobs individually were to help the people that put them where they are.



  2. Bad outweighs good

    Anybody who attended the Staffordshire Moorlands Planning Committee meeting would have been more than slightly surprised at the decision that transpired, with recommendations to reject from the council planning department, Draycott Parish Council and many others.
    The only weapon that was thrown against those recommendations was the SMDC’s requirement to find more housing capacity. That at the end seemed to be what was uppermost in the minds of the committee members when they voted.

    If the scheme’s proposals are examined in depth, in my opinion, very little of the proposal’s incentives will actually change the actuality of the circumstances that we residents of Cresswell live with.
    As a safety incentive, the proposals say, a roundabout would be created by the lay-by… Ok, this would slow down the traffic going through Cresswell, good. The road would be widened and a footpath created leading to the top of the bank by the Izaak Walton, good – the parish council have been vigorously campaigning for that for more that twelve years.
    The other proposal (of a roundabout at the junction of the Cresswell Lane and Draycott Level) would be a good thing, although I have reservations concerning improving access for ‘rat runners’.
    Although the incentives above would be welcomed I cannot see how taken as a whole they would change outsider’s perceptions of Cresswell as a place they would look to, as a place to buy a house, which is surely at the centre of anybody selling a hundred and sixty-eight houses.
    There is cash in the proposals going to three schools to increase capacity, for the extra children in those houses. There is also cash for an increased bus service, but how long would that money last?
    So, we all know how long houses are generally on the market for, in Cresswell. Also they very rarely achieve their asking price. We know that if the houses are built, they would be released in batches: say twenty houses are built, I believe they would take forever and a day to sell, what then? Also, I could possibly be wrong, but if you wanted to live in the countryside, would you want a business park as your next-door-neighbour?



  3. Why was this passed?

    First of all I would like to thank Jacquie, Shelagh and all VVSM members for putting in a massive opposition. Also thanks to Cllr Linda Malyon who pointed out that that this development should not go ahead. We must not forget the great support from our MP Sir Bill Cash.
    Maybe someone can enlighten me and furthermore what is the point of spending endless time and resources on policy-making only to ignore the policy when it suits??



  4. Housing pressure

    Ask yourself why the Govt and the Westminster clones are demanding so many more homes to be built in the UK when in reality the domestic resident population has hardly increased over the last ten years.
    You guessed it: housing stock is being used in the south to make way for the 300,000 latest European and non European economic migrants to make their home here. Anyone who wants to a buy a home in London can’t as its far too expensive, so it pushes new home buyers north, which in turn ripples out across the country.
    End product: we pay the price.
    You know what to do in May and who to vote for!



  5. May I thank Councillor Lynda Malyon on her comments.
    In fact, 6 council Core Strategy polices were disregarded by the Planning Committee.
    in fact one of the councillors quoted “SMDC was for the expansion of Blythe Business Park” – but this in fact was thrown out by the Government Inspector at the meeting held about two years ago, by his saying, on a site visit, that “any expansion of the business park would turn Cresswell into an industrial site”. The Councillor in question should have been reading from the current, adopted-and-approved by SMDC, Core Strategy Plan – INSTEAD HE WAS READING FROM THE DRAFT document!

    One Councillor stated that she passed through Cresswell regularly; and said in fact the proposed cricket club community-centre hub, due to be built soon, in fact was “not in Cresswell”. well I’m glad I’m not on the road at the same time as this councillor, if she fails to see that the Cresswell sign comes BEFORE THE SIGN for Blythe Cricket Club. Heaven help us!

    IF YOU DON’T WANT THIS INTRUSION ON OUR HAMLET JOIN US IN THIS FIGHT – VVSM COMMUNITY GROUP NEEDS YOU. WITHOUT YOUR ALL BACKING THE M J Barrett group of Companies will take over Cresswell – and a hamlet will disappear, to be replaced as a huge housing estate!


    Shelagh Wood, Chair VVSM VVSM Website


  6. They don't live here

    They see fields and think it is a space to build.
    No buses or amenities here, and yet there are areas of Stoke on Trent which have been flattened, close to shops, buses and towns that lie untouched.
    They don’t live here, they don’t have a problem crossing the road because of the endless stream of traffic. They don’t care, it’s not in their back yard…..
    I hope the next development is in their back yard. Because I will be the first to raise a glass in celebration.
    Thank you SMDC, you have really supported us well. NOT. Sleep tight.


  7. Now up to the Govt

    The Staffordshire Moorlands Full Council does not ratify the planning applications decisions; so this application will now go to the Government as it is a ‘departure’, so hopefully the Government will “call it in”. If they do, there is a chance that they could overturn the decision.
    The report was clear that it should have been refused, as it was against so many council policies

    Cllr Linda Malyon moorlands democratic alliance


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