Wednesday, 7 August 2013

CWaC Local Development Plan

CWaC's Executive voted to put the first draft local development plan produced by the council out to public consultation.  There will be an 8 week window within which anyone who wants to make any comments can do so.

Once the public consultation period is over there will be an Examination in Public held by a Planning Inspector who will test just how robust the various policies and proposals are.

If you want the right to participate in the Examination in Public it is essential that you make representations at this stage.  Keep watching the CWaC website for details.

Both Cllr Lynn Riley and I commented on the proposals tonight at the Executive.  We will also be making formal representations in due course as well.

The proposed development plan will shape development from 2010-2030 so it is a very important document for all of us to consider.

Frodsham has some surprising demographics.

We are one of the most rapidly aging populations in CWaC;
We have the highest rate of rural unemployment in the Borough;
We have the highest disability claimant count per capita in the Borough;
We have the most vibrant independent retail 'offer' in the Borough.

Now these figures point to what we already know.  We need to make Frodsham more attractive for younger adults and families.  We need Frodsham to be an affordable great place to be for everyone.

The draft plan only provides for an additional 250 houses in the plan period.  Personally I don't think this is enough.  Even our close neighbours in Helsby are having 300 proposed and they are half our size!

I am sure there is a broad consensus in Frodsham, Helsby and indeed the surrounding communities that most of the green belt boundaries are, and should remain sacrosanct.  Nobody would seriously suggest any changes between Frodsham and Helsby to the west, or to the south and south east towards Kingsley.

The land between Frodsham and the M56 to the north is designated green belt.  Much of it is very poor quality land and could potentially have some development potential.  The M56 itself is what most of us see as the northern boundary to Frodsham in any event.  Then there is the rectangle of land on the eastern side of the Weaver bounded by the railway viaduct and extending so far as Gleaves.  This could make excellent employment land and perhaps give an opportunity for some housing land.   It already has some limited use for these purposes.

We have some other issues that the development plan could help address.  We need our household waste recycling centre moving - and perhaps the ideal place would be by Gleaves?  We could do with all of the Station being spruced up - especially as the Station building has been refurbished.  And how about Eddisbury Square being revitalised?

And then there is the question of the use of land in the green belt too.  Use of this land for leisure purposes does already conform to green belt policy - so why not encourage perhaps a Frodsham Marina on the Weaver Navigation and perhaps more leisure use on the marshes so long as it is done sustainably and with respect for our environment.

And what about putting in policies that encourage industry to become good neighbours and a strongly integrated part of the community?  We could emphasise our expectations that they should become full participants in community life, provide local employment, accessed in a sustainable way.  How about putting in an expectation that they must respect us, and our health and wellbeing.  What about a policy that they must safeguard our environment, and operate lawfully and responsibly - perhaps including a requirement that they should participate in local environmental forums?

Then think about our High Street - should we have policies that seek to take account of the cumulative impact of various types of development.  In other words this could be a way of seeking to limit in total number terms things like, hot food shops, betting shops, Estate Agents ... ?

I'm sure all of us have views - just make sure you have your say!