2014 August: SMDC TO Bill Cash MP Ridiculous Response
We have now had what we believe is a ridiculous response from the Chief Executive Simon Baker of SMDC sent to Bill Cash MP (we have obtained a copy detailed below).
To summarise, the Chief Executive has stated:
‘Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council have been consulted on the prospect of meeting some of the housing needs of the Staffordshire Moorlands and have confirmed that due to the existing weak housing market and the withdrawal of the Housing Market Renew Programme that they are currently finding it difficult to meet their own housing requirements’
To be clear on what we believe is being claimed here, is that because it is in effect difficult to attract development in the Potteries and Newcastle-under-Lyme, that SMDC should in effect retain high level housing targets.
Yes that’s right, Cheadle Unite believe building on green fields and agricultural land around Cheadle is a target (strategic aim) , while the recovery of waste and derelict sites is someone else’s target. Priorities such as dire need for regeneration of the Potteries or protection of the environment, agricultural land and local opinion in Cheadle appear to have no place in the new National Planning Policy and the way SMDC engages with our local City.
Cheadle and the Surrounding areas are not isolated from Stoke-on-Trent, the Potteries and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
What happens here affects us all. If developers are allowed to build on open Greenfields with higher profit margins before tackling Brownfield sites they will. People won’t want to live on reclaimed land around Stoke until there is a level of certainty that developers will regenerate all the derelict land that may surround them.
Cheadle residents are not against modest housing development we already have 880 sites that have been identified, but our local City and Potteries must be the focus.
We in effect have a crazy situation where Stoke-on-Trent and numerous areas in the Potteries want regeneration and development but are clearly struggling to attract developers on existing derelict and Brownfield sites (areas with proven infrastructure I.e. drainage capability, road, rail and bus networks with walk to work as an option), while Cheadle with residents who oppose excessive development it would appear are tasked with growing our population by 26% by the new Government National Planning Policy.
The views of Cheadle residents have been made clear by large parts of the community raising objections through many rounds of representations over the years, not least in order to protect agricultural land and prevent further gridlock. SMDC have these representations.
The Regional Spatial Strategy (now abolished) supported flexibility in moving housing allocation around the region. John Healey the then Labour Housing Minister confirmed to Cheadle Unite i(4th April 2010) when we met him, that the housing allocation for Cheadle could be reduced as it was the objective of the Regional Spatial Strategy to take account for the effectiveness of development for the whole region and for regeneration and sustainability to take priority.
We have not yet had any comment on this from Bill Cash MP, or from the Conservative Party .