Friday, 9 May 2014

The Emerging Local Plan - and who really cares about things around here

Today was an important day for all of us in Frodsham, and in fact for everyone in Cheshire West and Chester.  Today was the last day on which those who had already commented on Part 1 of the Emerging Local Development Plan could submit a proof of evidence and have it considered at next months Examination in Public.

This Emerging Local Development Plan is of vital importance to all of us living in the Borough as it will be the yardstick against which planning applications will be measured up until 2030.  We are at the strategic policy stage or Part 1.  Part 2, and the specific planning policies will follow.

Lynn and I have commented on all stages of the plan so far and today submitted a 64 page joint proof confirming our previous comments and also drawing to the Inspectors attention the Frodsham Consultation.  We've both said that when we get round to the examination hearings we will raise the consultation findings - and that depending what the residents of Frodsham have said we may alter what we've said so far to reflect strong community sentiments - if it differs what we've said.  The first findings will only emerge at the Annual Town Meeting in a week's time.

Now a little while ago I searched the CWaC Consultation Portal to see who has said what about the Emerging Local Plan.  I was and am particularly interested in what CWaC Councillors, FTC Councillors and other noteworthy locals have said.  Lets not forget this is the most important development plan for our generation.

On CWaC there are 75 Councillors - 42 Conservative, 32 Labour and 1 LibDem.
At the previous 'preferred policy stage':

  •  42% or 18 of the Conservative Councillors had participated;
  • 18.75% or 6 of the Labour Councillors had participated; and
  • 0% or 0 of the LibDem(s) had commented.
Those the commented on the specific policies that will be examined at the Examination in Public:
  • 26% or 11 of the Conservative Councillors had participated;
  • 9.375% or 3 of the Labour Councillors had participated; and
  • 0% or 0 LibDem(s) had commented.
Each consultee could comment on the specific emerging policies.  Each response can be viewed on the Consultation Portal and that is what I searched for and looked at today.  In total all of the Councillors combined made 56 separate responses.  These were divided as follows:
  • 95% or 53 responses were submitted by Conservative Councillors
  • 5% or 3 response were submitted by Labour Councillors
Now there clearly is something special in the water around here as Lynn and I were responsible for 21 or 37.5% of all Councillor responses.  

You've got to bear in mind that these policies relate to many things - housing, employment, transport, household waste recycling centres, wind farms, fracking etc.  

I then looked at the FTC Cllrs.  Leaving aside Lynn and me only Cllrs Warren and Bondi have participated at any stage of this emerging local plan.  A quick glance for the local 'big mouths' revealed an absence of comment or representation from them too.

So who really cares... you decide...