8th December 2010 (update) - Cheadle Town Masterplan - Representations (Page 1 of 3)
Cheadle Unite have put forward two representation documents detailing aspects 'in support of' and 'in objection to', the Cheadle Town Masterplan' as mentioned in 'earlier news' on this website.
We hope residents have had an opportunity (despite the time of year and awful weather) to submit representations.
The text in the two docments is extracted below (we would appreciate further comments from residents):
The 'In Support of' Representation is as follows:
Cheadle Unite - Background
We believe the following is an important and relevant context to precede comment on the ‘Cheadle Town Centre Masterplan July 2010’.
In December 2009 Cheadle residents were asked in a very tight time frame and with totally inadequate communication to make representations over poorly conceived and unacceptable changes to future housing provision for the town.
The proposals in December 2009 highlighted a 25% increase in housing demand over the development period to 2026 without adequate justification, Job potential, adequate workforce planning and with no road or traffic plans suitable to handle such a growth to name just a few. This understandably has not nurtured a good relationship between residents and SMDC and in many ways acted divisively within the community.
Sentiment in the town was and is very much for improvement of the area and increased job potential but not for significantly increased housing provision. Increased housing without job prospects and viable sustainability in both the short and long term creates a recipe for declining standards of living and the creation of a further deprived area. In the short term fossil fuelled economy, increased traffic on congested roads without improvements is a real issue, and in the longer term post fossil fuel environment (2025-2075), limited mobility potential for an unsustainably expanded town is similarly unacceptable.
The town centre is an important part of the infrastructure of the surrounding community.
Many residents value local walks and the rural setting away from a built up city and therefore expect expansion and development to be controlled, measured and locally demand led with the option to decline development in areas where residents have objections to further development. Further overexpansion of the surrounding areas would be destructive in retaining the unique character of Cheadle and push it towards a ‘clone town’ with the usual draw for large retailers etc that follow. The protection of local businesses is important to the community.
Cheadle residents in the South West and East have spoke out against significant housing development provision. A similar opposition may be likely in the North East.
As part of the ‘Big Society’, Cheadle Unite sincerely hopes that those views have been taken on-board and that the town development plans are aimed at genuine development of the town centre for and in harmony with local residents and therefore, are not merely an attempt to allow sizeable housing expansion by an alternative means.
The following comments are therefore made against the unfortunate historic interaction between SMDC and Cheadle residents. We sincerely hope this is a new and genuine direction by SMDC for the community as is inferred by the new direct mail approach used in sending information to residents regarding this ‘Cheadle Town Masterplan’. Various press releases indicate that SMDC council leader Sybil Ralphs has, along with the council, taken on-board the representations made by residents on further housing expansion and we take those statements on board at face value.
Cheadle Unite Identify the value of genuine and measured strategic development aims for the town and welcomes many aspects of the initiative in the town centre Masterplan if appropriately motivated and carefully planned. We are also aware and are grateful for the considerable work carried out by the town council, local businesses and residents with significant improvements to signage and floral arrangements already in place around the town.
In the proposed Cheadle Town Masterplan, Page 10 defines the outline brief for the development of Cheadle town and highlights an LDF target expansion of 25% (also detailed on page 31). As has been stated, significant numbers of representations have been made to SMDC regarding expansion of the town (Cheadle Unites representation: Ref No 600 has our comments on the matter). As part of the Governments ‘Big Society’, residents expect those views to have been taken on board. We realise that time moves on and changes cannot always be reflected in already commissioned consultation documents (another example relates to references to Advantage West Midlands (AWM) who 6 months ago in June 2010 the government announced would not to exist by 2012). The representation here therefore relates to the general aims of the Town Centre Masterplan. They are not an acceptance of the 25% increase in housing mentioned (attributed by the dominantly Conservative SMDC to targets set by the previous Labour Government) , and most importantly will not be acceptable to residents if SMDC attempt to claim that acceptance of the Masterplan is in any way an acceptance of a 25% swell in the population by 2026.
Hence for clarity: The question ‘Would we accept a 25% increase in housing in order to improve the town?’ is clearly not a question being asked here and therefore a stance along the lines that ‘Acceptance of the Town Masterplan allows us to increase housing by 25%’ is clearly not an argument that the community will accept especially given the aforementioned history between SMDC and residents and the representations that have been made.