The possibility that we will see a large housing estate built in Cresswell has taken a step closer, after our MP Bill Cash revealed that the Government has turned down his request to review the planning permission decision made back in February.
Despite over 170 letters of objection from local people, a formal objection from Draycott Parish Council, and a ‘recommendation to refuse’ from the planning experts at SMDC -, the councillors on the Staffs Moorlands District Council Planning Committee decided five months ago to support a plan to double the size of the Blythe industrial park and build 170 new homes in Cresswell.
Late last week, the Minster for Local Government, Marcus Jones, contacted Sir Bill to tell him: “…I have decided not to ‘call in’ this application…. I appreciate that this is not the preferred outcome for you and our constituents.”
This decision by the Government leaves the way open for Staffs Moorlands District Council to ratify their decision to allow the housing estate & to permit the doubling of the number of industrial units on the Blythe Park site. (See SMDC’s Cresswell Planning Application page)
The local residents’ group, VVSM, has held an emergency meeting, and have decided however not to give up the fight.
Shelagh Wood, the group’s chairperson, said: “The next course of action would be to apply for a ‘judicial review‘. We think we have a case, as the SMDC planning committee members deliberately flouted their own experts’ advice and also went directly against the Moorlands Core Strategy.
“…But… to press for a judicial review will cost money, so we need to see what support exists among the local residents – we will be holding an open meeting next month to see what level of feeling there is in the community for this step. For myself, I think if the plans go ahead, it will change Cresswell forever.”
All eyes are now on Draycott Parish Council, which has its next meeting on Monday 20th July, where members will discuss the issue.
In the past, the council has refused to do more than write a letter of objection to the plans. The then-chairman said they could do no more, as they “had to be fair to all sides.” (This was said even though there were over 160 official letters of objection to the plans, as against four in favour).
However, the election in June has seen an influx of new faces on the parish council. Will the newbies be prepared to spur the council into firmer action?
It will also be interesting to see if our three local district councillors, who (apart from Councillor Colin Pearce) have been very quiet on this issue, also decide they now need, at the last minute, to take a more public stance.
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